Kidneys are one of the most vital organs of the human body. Although the size of the kidney is not too large, the function it does is essential for living a healthy life.
The main function of the Kidneys is to filter the blood. When the blood passes through kidneys, the kidney keeps the important nutrients and other substances required by the body and deliver them back into the blood while the waste materials including toxins are excreted outside.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of kidney dysfunction are seen much after the initiation of damage in the kidneys. In most of the cases, the damage is irreversible. Thus, it is important that we should preserve the health of our Kidneys by following healthy habits. Incorporating these habits in daily life leads to a perfectly healthy kidney with optimum functioning.
Effective Ways to Improve Kidney Health:
1. Regular Exercise
Daily exercise for at least 30 minutes a day helps in improving stamina and lowers the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease. Do not push your body into strenuous exercise right from the initial phase of exercise. Start with mild exercise and gradually increases the intensity and time of exercise. Further, consistency is essential to have a long-term impact. Stick to your exercise schedule. Doing exercise also improves heart function and helps to manage blood pressure.
2. Eat healthily and stay hydrated
Poor eating habits may result in obesity or being overweight. Obesity increases the risk of various diseases including kidneys. Other diseases related to obesity are blood pressure and diabetes. Processed meat and high sodium food should not be incorporated into the food. Low-sodium food is whole grains, fish and cauliflower. Also, a balanced diet should be chosen to provide the body with a continuous supply of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals play an essential role in human metabolism. Avoid foods with high fatty contents. Increased water intake helps in to reduce the accumulation of toxins inside the body. Further, it also helps your kidney to function normally. Driving plenty of water also reduces the risk of kidney stones.
3. Keep a watch on blood pressure
Blood pressure has a direct impact on kidney health. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of poor kidney health. Every organ requires oxygen and nutrients for proper function. These substances are available to these organs with the help of arteries. Untreated high blood pressure leads to narrowing or hardening of the arteries leading to their damage. The arteries affected also include those that supply blood to kidneys. If your blood pressure is consistently high, it is important to take consultation with a doctor. The blood pressure can be managed through exercise, healthy outdoor activities or lifestyle, medications or the combination of above.
4. Control your blood sugar
Almost 40% of patients with diabetes have Chronic Kidney Disease. The damage of kidneys due to diabetes is termed as diabetic nephropathy. Kidney damage because of high blood sugar is caused by a variety of mechanisms. First, high blood sugar causes damage to the blood vessels that provide energy to the kidneys. This results in damage to kidneys. Second, due to high blood sugar, the kidney has to filter more blood volume. Persistent high pressure on the kidneys due to unmanaged hyperglycemia results in a progressive reduction of blood filtering ability of kidneys. This leads to kidney disease. Thus, to prevent or reduce the risk of kidney damage due to diabetes, blood sugar is to be kept under control.
5. Avoid smoking
Smoking negatively affects kidney health and also increases the risk of cancer. Smoking reduces the capacity of the arteries carrying the blood to kidneys. Further, prolonged smoking worsens the symptoms of kidney disease. It has been found that smokers have a high concentration of albumin in their urine as compared to non-smokers. This indicates that smokers have reduced kidney functioning. People should avoid smoking for better kidney health.
6. Drink under limitations
Drinking too much alcohol may cause kidney damage. Alcohol acts as a diuretic for kidneys and makes them work harder to produce more urine. Further, alcohol retains more water inside the cells leading to bloating.
7. Stay away from OTC medications
If taken for a long time, an OTC medication such as anti-inflammatory and analgesics leads to kidney damage. A person should not continue these medications for long without under the monitor of the doctor.
8. Keep a check on any health issues
Kidney disease does not provide a warning sign until the damage is done beyond recovery. However, certain subtle signs are experienced by the patient. These signs should not be overlooked.
Monitoring Kidney Function in High-Risk Patients
Kidney function tests are done to analyze the performance of kidneys. These tests are usually recommended in high-risk patients. Various types of tests are available to evaluate the performance of kidneys in normal as well as high-risk groups. 24-hour urine is collected to check for the presence of blood, protein and other substances. Serum retaining test is another test for kidney health. The kidney excretes creatinine from the blood. If the concentration of creatinine is high in serum, it indicates a kidney problem. Blood Urea Nitrogen test is not exclusive for kidney disease as some medications also result in increased nitrogen in the blood. Protein metabolism results in nitrogen production. The glomerular filtration rate is the filtering capacity of kidneys. Lower than normal Glomerular filtration rate indicates the presence of disease in kidneys. High-risk people for kidney disease include:
- Elderly people who are above the age of 60 years.
- People with high blood pressure and diabetes.
- People with obesity.
- People with symptoms are of particular concern.
In Case of Kidney Dysfunction
Kidney disease does not show symptoms in the initial stage. This is because the remaining kidney is quite capable of carrying up the task. Symptoms began to arise when the undamaged part of the kidney or more precisely undamaged number of neutrons is not able to continue the sufficient filtration.
The symptoms of kidney disease include fatigue, reduced volume of urine, chest pain, neurological disorders such as confusion and seizures, swelling in the ankles and legs, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and sleep disorders. Kidney disease is a progressive disease and, in most cases, the damage is irreversible. Through medications, further damaged can be prevented or slowed. When the kidneys no longer filter the blood, the condition is known as kidney failure. In kidney failure, the blood is filtered by flowing it through artificial filtering device and the process is known as dialysis. Another option to treat kidney failure is a kidney transplant.
Kidney, in the human body, performs various functions and most of them are essential for life. Failure in maintaining proper kidney health may result in complications not only related to the kidney but also to other organs such as blood and brain.
Kidney health can be achieved through avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, exercise, a healthy diet, taking plenty of fluid, and staying away from taking OTC medications. Various kidney tests are recommended for high-risk patients because the symptoms of kidney damage are not experienced prior to advanced deterioration of kidney functions. Treatment of kidney failure includes dialysis and kidney transplantation.