Kidney health is largely overlooked. And that is understandable since most kidney disease won’t show any symptoms unless it gets severe.
Kidney Disease is often “silent” in nature
Kidneys are our body’s personal filtering system. They are responsible for filtering both the body’s blood and other waste materials that may enter the body through food, drinks or medicines.
They are also a major player in regulating our blood pressure and in addition, helps to absorb vitamin D for stronger bones.
They are so important that most of us are born with two kidneys, in case something happens to one of them.
Hidden away at the back of your abdomen, these tiny, busy organs are often overlooked. And this is because most kidney disease including chronic kidney disease (CKD) have no noticeable symptoms until it has reached an advanced form. The early stages of chronic kidney diseases often go undiagnosed because a person won’t be able to feel any discomfort.
But that makes it all the more important for you to understand kidney health, learn how to work with your healthcare provider to spot any issues early on. But above all, there are few things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy and prevent kidney disease.
Our doctors at Duff Street Medical Clinic has come up with 5 golden rules to follow for a healthier kidney:
1) Watch out for early signs of kidney disease
It is not uncommon that some people would not notice any symptoms until 90% of their kidney function is lost.
However, these symptoms may point to other medical conditions, so it is important to seek medical help from your doctor if you see any symptoms. A medical test will help your healthcare providers to rule out kidney disease or other associated diseases.
Watch out for the below signs and symptoms of kidney disease:
- Swollen ankle and feet as a result of water retention called, Oedema
- Stomach pain and/or back pain
- Experiencing consistent puffiness around eyes
- Increased urge to urinate, particularly at night
- Weight loss and poor appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Dry and itchy skin
- Muscle cramps
2) Manage your blood sugar level
Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney disease. Over time, the high levels of glucose in your blood will start damaging the millions of tiny filtering units in each kidney.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, the best way to protect your kidneys is to consult your doctor to manage and monitor your kidney health.
3) Keep your blood pressure within the healthy range
High Blood Pressure or hypertension is the second leading cause of kidney failure. Any person with high blood pressure is at a higher risk to develop chronic kidney disease.
Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure hardens or weakens the arteries around the kidneys. These impacted arteries will not be able to carry enough blood to the kidney for filtration.
4) Stay hydrated
Water helps the kidneys to remove waste from our blood in form of urine. It keeps the blood vessels open so that blood can freely travel to the kidneys and delivering essential nutrients throughout the body.
Severe dehydration can lead to kidney damage, so make sure you drink extra glasses of water, especially when working out or during the dry seasons.
Learn more about the best practices on drinking water for healthier kidneys.
5) Quit smoking
People who smoke are more likely to develop kidney disease. In addition to increasing heart rate and blood pressure, smoking allows toxins to enter the body, accelerating the loss of kidney function in our body.
In general, people who don’t have kidney disease, are at an increased risk for getting the end-stage renal disease, if they are smokers. But, if you’re a heavy smoker, the risks are even higher.
Smoking and the use of tobacco are the most preventable risk factors for kidney disease. So quitting smoking now is a great step to your future kidney health.