Your kidneys are the chemical factory of your body. They are tasked with a wide range of critical functions. They help to filter waste, control blood pressure, and even support your red blood cells. With so many tasks to complete, it is important to always care for your kidneys to maintain your overall health. National Kidney Month (March) is dedicated to educating the public about the importance of the kidneys and the danger of kidney disease and kidney failure.
March is National Kidney Month
The Importance of Proper Kidney Function
Over time, the kidneys may function less effectively. This can be due to age, or it may be due to lifestyle choices. Often the kidneys will get damaged and not show any symptoms until the situation is dire. There are close to 30 million Americans living with kidney disease and the majority of them are not even aware. If you are at risk of developing kidney disease, it is critical that you take care of them. Those who suffer from poor kidney function will eventually need to go on dialysis. While effective, this treatment is more of a stop-gap measure intended to ease the pressure placed on the kidneys, but it is not a cure. March is National Kidney Month and the perfect time to learn how to take care of your kidneys and prevent kidney disease.
Five Tips To Protect Your Kidneys
The first thing you should do is to get yourself tested. No matter how old or how young you may be, an ACR urine test can reveal your kidney health. For those who suffer from high blood pressure or who have diabetes, the National Kidney Foundation recommends taking a GFR blood test at least once a year. If kidney failure runs in your family or if you are over 60, it is also a good idea to take an annual GFR blood test. In many locations, this screening is free or offered at a serious discount. Most health insurance plans will cover preventative testing such as those dedicated to kidney health.
Control Diabetes and Blood Pressure
The second thing to do is control your diabetes and blood pressure if they are out of control. These two conditions are the leading causes of both kidney disease and also kidney failure. If you have high blood pressure now is the time to get it under control and start living a healthier lifestyle. For those who suffer from diabetes, maintaining control is critical not only for kidney health but also for your overall wellbeing. If you suffer from both diabetes and high blood pressure, it is important to create a manageable healthcare plan with your doctor to keep these conditions under control.
Reduce or Eliminate Processed Foods
The third step is reducing or eliminating processed food from your diet. These foods contain high levels of phosphates, nitrates, and sodium. If you want to avoid kidney disease, heart disease, and even cancer, it is a good idea to have your diet focus more on whole foods and less on pre-packaged junk. The DASH diet is a great place to start if you are looking for ways to generate healthy living and healthy eating habits.
The fourth way to maintain kidney health is to get active and regularly exercise. You need to exercise on a regular basis to keep your kidneys and your heart healthy. Make a point of being active at least 30-45 minutes each day. This will also help boost heart health, muscle health, and bone health overall. For those who suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes, physical activity is a great way to help manage those conditions.
Reduce Pain Medications
The last tip to help keep your kidneys healthy is to reduce the number of pain medications you consume. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are highly effective at reducing pain, but they are terrible on your kidneys. Avoid regular usage of NSAIDs and look for alternative options instead. If you must take NSAIDs, limit the dosage to the least amount needed to provide relief.
Facts About The Kidneys
One out of every nine adults in the USA already have kidney disease, and most are completely unaware. Getting tested can help reduce the effects and slow the progression of kidney disease if it is caught early. One-third of adults are currently at risk of developing kidney disease. Those with other conditions or a family history of kidney failure are more than half as likely to develop the disease. Of all deaths, kidney disease is the 9th cause of all deaths in the Unitized States.
As much as 120 billion dollars is spent annually caring for people who suffer from kidney disease. However, the funding for the research to cure or prevent chronic kidney disease is only a fraction of that amount. The best way to reduce your chances of developing kidney disease is by living a healthy lifestyle.
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