Kidney health is often one of the last things on our mind. This purpose of this blog is to provide information on what is both good and bad for your kidney. So how do you promote good kidney health? Glad you asked!
1. Get your kidney function checked
Since we don’t manifest signs or symptoms of kidney disease until its late stage, it’s important to know how well your kidney is functioning. If it is reduced, it’s important to know why it’s low so that measures are taken to prevent it from declining further.
People with any of these ‘high risk’ factors are at risk for developing kidney disease:
- Age greater than 50 years
- Family history of kidney disease
- Those of African, Hispanic, Asian, or Aboriginal origin
2. Check your BP and keep a log
Hypertension is the 2nd leading cause of CKD. It important for you to know you definition of normal BP, pre-hypertension and hypertension.
When asked, most people think their BP is “normal.”
It is helpful to keep a BP log and take this with you to your doctor appointments. This helps physicians make treatment decisions. For some patients, the BP may respond simply to changes in their diet. For others they may need to be started on BP medications. Even after medications are started, a BP log remains essential.
3. Eat Clean
You know exactly what this means. Try to adopt a DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet can help lower blood pressure and lower chances of getting heart and kidney disease. It includes fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It also has less sodium, sugars, fats, and red meats.
Fast food and processed foods are high in sodium.
4. Stay active
Staying active is key.
There are many types of exercises that can help you stay healthy including walking, running, playing a sport, or aerobic exercise. Enjoy nature with a hike.
5. Quit Smoking
This has directly been linked to kidney cancer. Once a tumor develops on the kidney you will either need to have part or your entire kidney removed. This may force you to go on dialysis if you have bad kidney function to begin with.
6. Do not overuse pain medicines
Ibuprofen is the most common culprit that we overlook. It falls under a category of meds called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Ibuprofen has several “cousin drugs” that belong into this category such as naproxen. Read the name of the pain med you take, look it up and please avoid long term use of NSAIDS. This class of medications are often used by woman with heavy menstrual periods and those with chronic pain.
7. Stay hydrated
I advise patients to let go of their “Smart drinks” or “energy drinks”. Stay away from soda and carbonated drinks. Simple H20 is what the kidneys love. It clears sodium, urea and toxins from the body which according to research in Australia and Canada results in a “significantly lower risk” of developing CKD.
There is no perfect amount which can be recommended across the board. It depends upon your metabolic rate, gender, activity, climate, health conditions. If you have or had a kidney stones then you must drink at least 2 liters of water to prevent a new stone formation.