Seven Tips to Take Care of Your Kidneys!

Kidney Month

Most of us have two kidneys, each about the size of a fist, located on either side of the spine at the lowest level of the rib cage.

Kidney ImageThe kidneys are powerful chemical factories that:

  • Remove waste products from the body
  • Remove drugs from the body
  • Balance the body’s fluids
  • Release hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • Produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
  • Control the production of red blood cells

Each kidney has a million tiny filters called “nephrons.” The nephrons filter and return to the bloodstream about 200 quarts of fluid every 24 hours. About two quarts are removed from the body in the form of urine, and about 198 quarts are recycled.

If your kidneys don’t work, waste builds up in your blood and makes you sick, resulting in either Acute Renal Failure (ARF) or Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

Risk factors for kidney disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Being 60 years or older
  • Having a family member with kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Being African American/Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native

People with risk factors should get tested regularly. Tests to find kidney disease include:

  • A simple urine test called ACR (albumin-to-creatinine ratio). Protein in the urine is a sign of kidney disease.
  • A simple blood test to estimate your GFR (glomerular filtration rate), which measures how well your kidneys are working.

Our Chronic Disease Educator Rosemary Griffith offers seven tips for keeping your kidneys healthy: 

  1. Hydrate.  It’s always a good idea to drink four to six glasses of water every day.
  2. Eat healthy foods. Your kidneys can tolerate a wide range of dietary habits.  Most kidney problems arise from other medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Because of this, you should follow healthy, moderate eating habits to control weight and blood pressure. Preventing diabetes and high blood pressure will help keep your kidneys in good condition.
  3. Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity can stave off weight gain and high blood pressure.
  4. Supplements

    Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

    Use caution with supplements and herbal remedies. Excessive amounts of certain vitamin supplements and some herbal extracts may be harmful to your kidneys. Talk to your doctor about any vitamins and herbs you are taking or plan to take.

  5. Quit smoking. Smoking can damage blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood in the kidneys. When the kidneys don’t have adequate blood flow, they can’t function at optimal levels. Smoking also increases the risk of high blood pressure as well as the risk of kidney cancer.
  6. Don’t overdo over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Common non-prescription pills like ibuprofen and aspirin can cause kidney damage if taken too regularly over a prolonged period.
  7. If you’re at risk, get regular kidney function screening. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to your physician about a screen for kidney dysfunction as part of routine care.

Do you have risk factors for kidney disease? Come in for a check-up. Call 816-923-5800 for an appointment.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.