It is estimated that close to 900 million people around the world suffer some form of kidney ailments. It is further estimated that nearly 2.3 million people globally lose their lives to Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD) annually. More statistics reveal that 14 million people are affected by Acute Kidney Injury (AKI).
As the world marks World Kidney Day on 14 March, here are eight tips to keep your kidneys healthy.
- Keep Fit – A fitness regime aids in reducing your blood pressure, eventually cutting the risk of chronic kidney disease. There are many ingenious ways of keeping fit. You could walk, run, cycle or swim or take part in an any regular exercise. As a bonus you will look and feel great as a result.
- Watch and control your blood sugar levels – Nearly 50% of diabetes patients will develop kidney problems. It is therefore important for people with diabetes to undergo regular testing to check their kidney functions.
We can lower, even prevent the risk of kidney damage through early detection. It is also important to monitor and control blood sugar levels with the assistance of doctors and pharmacists who are always willing to help.
- Watch your blood pressure – Many have associated high blood pressure with stroke or cardiac arrest. Unknown to many, high blood pressure is the most common cause of kidney damage and can lead to kidney failure when associated with other risk factors such as cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Watch your weight and what you eat as well – By eating healthy and watching your weight, you are able to keep conditions such as heart disease and diabetes at bay. These are just some of the conditions associated with chronic kidney disease.Do you instinctively reach for the salt shaker and sprinkle a few grains on to your food during meal time? Do you ever pay attention to the number of times you will sprinkle salt on to your food? It’s probably time to reduce your salt intake.
You see, the daily recommended salt intake is around 5 grams, roughly a tea spoon. Eating salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove the water.
The result is a higher blood pressure due to the extra fluid and extra strain on the delicate blood vessels leading to the kidneys.
Over time, this extra strain can damage the kidneys – known as kidney disease. This reduces their ability to filter out unwanted and toxic waste products, which then start to build up in the body.
- Hydrate regularly – While there is not set standard on the ideal quantity of fluids to consume daily in the quest for good health, it is almost commonplace to take between 1.5 and 2 litres of water on a day to day basis.
Regular fluid intake enables the kidneys remove urea, sodium and toxins from the body. This in turn greatly reduces the risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
- Do not smoke – Smoking constricts the flow of blood to vital organs including the kidneys thus impairing their ability to properly function. Smoking also increases the risk of proteinuria which is excessive amount of protein excreted in urine which can lead to hypertension and edema (the abnormal accumulation of fluid in certain tissues within the body) If you smoke then one of the best things you could do for yourself is to quit.
- Do not misuse over the counter medicationCommon over the counter medications are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly.
Such medications probably do not pose significant danger if your kidneys are relatively healthy and you use them for emergencies only, but if you are dealing with chronic pain, such as arthritis or back pain, work with your doctor to find a way to control your pain without putting your kidneys at risk.
8. Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the ‘high risk’ factors
● You have diabetes
● You have hypertension
● You are obese
● One of your parents or other family members suffers from kidney disease