Millions of Americans are effected by kidney disease but fortunately some cases are reversible when caught and treated early. There are preventative measures you can take to help protect your kidneys against disease. Let's take a closer look at kidney disease:
Chronic Kidney Disease Prevalence
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as kidney failure or chronic renal disease, is a condition where your kidneys slowly lose the ability to function. During the more advanced stages of the disease, a sufferer may need a kidney transplant or kidney dialysis to stay alive. CKD affects nearly 26 million
Americans, with millions of others at risk of developing it. The main causes of CKD are chronically high blood pressure and diabetes.
Symptoms of CKD
Some of the main symptoms
of kidney failure are:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexplained swelling in ankles or legs
- Trouble passing urine or passing less urine
- Fatigue, puffiness around eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme itchiness (without hives or allergies).
Many of these symptoms are vague and can be attributed to less serious illnesses. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms without cause, you should talk to your doctor (or one of ours) today.
CKD Prevention Tips
While these measures may not fully eliminate
your risk of developing kidney disease (or stop progression completely), they will certainly help you protect those vital organs as much as possible. Prevention includes:
- Moderating alcohol intake – drinking elevates not only your cholesterol, but also your blood pressure. Drinking too much causes chronically elevated levels which can contribute to kidney failure over time. The CDC defines moderate drinking as 1-2 drinks a day, so for the sake of your kidneys, you’d be best advised to keep your drinking below this cap.
- Staying hydrated – don’t make your kidneys work too hard by becoming under-hydrated. Make sure you get the recommended 5-8 glasses of water daily!
- Maintaining proper nutrition - cutting down on junk and fatty foods and following a healthy, cholesterol-friendly balanced diet (see suggestions below) is the best plan of action to avoid or lessen kidney damage. Another nutrition tip? Drastically cut down on salt intake.
- Watch out for medications – some medications such as NSAIDS, antibiotics or proton pump inhibitors can increase the risk of kidney disease. Certain herbal supplements (such as vitamin D) have been known to cause issues with the kidneys as well. Always check with your doctor before beginning any new supplements or medications.
- Routine exercise – getting regular exercise is a great way to help keep the body in tip top condition. It will also help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol to healthier levels, which will subsequently help your kidneys in the long run. Plus, it is a good idea to shed as many extra pounds as you can because obese people run a much higher risk of developing CKD.
- Control contributing conditions – If you already have type 1 or 2 diabetes, keep your condition well controlled and monitored or it can lead to major kidney complications. Over half of diabetics develop kidney damage. Similarly, if you have hypertension you should work to lower your blood pressure as that is a direct contributor to CKD.
- Get screened regularly – regular checkups and bloodwork will alert your doctor to any changes or issues with your kidneys, these are especially important if you have kidney disease in your immediate family, if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, or use antibiotics, PPIs or NSAIDS frequently.
- Quit smoking – as with many health issues, smoking can cause or exacerbate kidney problems because of the harmful chemicals the body is ingesting. If you are a smoker and are concerned about kidney health, talk to your doctor about how to quit today.
There you have it - some of the precautions you can take to lower your risk of developing (or worsening) chronic kidney disease. Stay happy and healthy! Thanks for visiting EMC