The Kidneys are a reddish-brown, bean-shaped organ located at the bottom of the rib cage, on both sides of your spine.
The nephron is the structural and functional unit of the kidney. Each adult human kidney contains around 1 million nephrons.
The Kidney performs an array of functions. Most importantly, they filter waste products, excess water, and other impurities from your blood.
In addition, the kidneys regulate pH, salt, and potassium levels in your body. They also produce hormones that regulate blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells.
Monitoring and maintaining your kidney health should be of high priority as they help maintain your overall health and general well-being. Keeping your kidneys healthy will help your body filter and expel waste properly and produce hormones to help your body function properly.
Below are some practical tips you can adopt to maintain optimal Kidney health:
- Actively monitor your blood pressure
Poorly controlled high blood pressure is one of the major causes of Kidney failure. A poorly managed, long standing high blood pressure can cause kidney damage. If high blood pressure occurs with other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, or, high cholesterol, the impact on your Kidneys becomes even more significant.
A healthy blood pressure reading is 120/80. Prehypertension is between that point and 139/89. If your blood pressure readings are consistently above 140/90, you may have high blood pressure.
Check and monitor your blood pressure daily if you have been diagnosed hypertensive. If you have a family history of high blood pressure (i.e., you have a first-degree relative diagnosed hypertension), you should check your blood pressure at least twice monthly. If you do not have a family history of High blood pressure, check your blood pressure once monthly as part of your routine health check. You can also talk to your physician about monitoring your blood pressure regularly and making changes to your lifestyle.
- Check and Control your Blood sugar.
People with diabetes, are at high risk of developing kidney damage. When your body’s cells cannot use the glucose (sugar) in your blood, your kidneys are forced to work extra hard to filter your blood. Over years of exertion, this can lead to life-threatening damages.
However, if you can control your blood sugar, you reduce the risk of damage. Also, if the damage is caught early, your doctor can take steps to reduce or prevent additional damage. Check your blood sugar at least once monthly as part of your routine medical checkup.
- Drink plenty of fluids
There’s no magic behind the cliché advice to drink eight glasses of water a day, but it’s a good goal precisely because it encourages you to stay hydrated. Regular, consistent water intake is healthy for your kidneys and for your general health.
Water helps clear sodium and toxins from your kidneys. It also lowers your risk of chronic kidney disease.
Aim for at least 1.5 to 2 liters in a day. The exact quantity of water you need depends largely on your health and lifestyle. Factors like climate, exercise, gender, overall health, and whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding also factors in.
If you’ve previously been diagnosed of kidney stones, you should drink a bit more water to help prevent stone deposits in the future.
- Stop taking self-prescribed over the counter medications.
If you regularly take self-prescribed over the counter (OTC) pain medication, you may be causing kidney damage unknowingly. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can damage your kidneys if randomly taken without prescription.
Your risk becomes higher if you have kidney issues and you regular take this medication. People with no kidney issues who take the medicine occasionally are likely in the clear. However, if you use these medications daily, you could be risking your kidneys’ health. You can talk with your doctor about kidney-safe treatments and appropriate dosages to take if you have conditions requiring NSAID use.
- Keep fit, monitor your weight, and eat healthy.
Exercise is good for more than just the curves and abs. It can lower the risk of chronic kidney diseases. It can also reduce your blood pressure and boost your heart health, which are both important to preventing kidney damage.
People whose BMI is in the overweight or obese range are at risk for several health conditions that can damage the kidneys. They are at risk of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.
A healthy diet that is low in sodium, processed meats, and other kidney-damaging foods may help reduce the risk of kidney damage. Focus on eating fresh ingredients that are naturally low sodium, such as cauliflower, blueberries, fish, whole grains, and more. Eating meals rich in vegetables and greens is always a way to go.
- Reduce smoking and alcohol intake.
Heavy Smoking and heavy alcohol intake damage your body’s blood vessels. This leads to slower blood flow throughout your body and to your kidneys.
Smoking also puts your kidneys at an increased risk for cancer. If you stop smoking, your risk will drop. However, it’ll take many years to return to the risk level of a person who’s never smoked. Moderate alcohol intake is the goal if you have to drink.
In conclusion, you must remember that your kidneys are vital to your overall health. These organs are responsible for many functions, from processing body waste to making hormones. That is why taking care of your kidneys should be a top health priority.
Maintaining an active, health-conscious lifestyle is the best thing you can do to make sure your kidneys stay healthy.
If you have a chronic health condition that increases your risk for kidney damage or kidney disease, you should work closely with your doctor to watch for signs of loss of kidney function. This can help your physician spot Kidney damage early enough and can help him/her initiate early treatment towards good prognosis (Outcome).