The three greatest factors that can put one in three Americans at an increased risk of developing kidney disease are: High blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney failure. Anyway, even if you can’t find yourself in one of these three categories, it’s important to take care of these critically important organs.
Here are 7 secrets to kidney health:
At every stage of life, you can do a lot of things to keep your kidneys functioning properly and keep them as healthy as possible.
- Hydrate, but don’t overdo it. We all know that is good idea to drink enough water, but most of us are not aware that drinking more than the typical four to six glasses a day probably won’t help your kidneys do their job any better. “Contrary to popular belief, no studies have proven over-hydration as an effective practice in enhancing kidney function,” says nephrologist James Simon, MD.
- Eat healthy foods. Simon points out that most kidney problems arise out of other medical conditions like high blood pressureand diabetes. Your kidneys can tolerate a wide range of dietary habits. Because of this, he suggests you follow healthy, moderate eating habits to control weight and blood pressure. Preventing diabetes and high blood pressure will help keep kidneys in good condition.
- Exercise regularly. .“Overexerting yourself when you’re not fit and healthy can put a strain on your kidneys, especially if you exercise so much that you cause excessive breakdown of muscle tissue,” says Dr. Simon. Exercising is a good idea, but when you’re healthy. Exercising, healthy eating habits, regular physical activity can stave off weight gain and high blood pressure. But on the other side you should be mindful of how much exercise you do, especially if you’re not conditioned.
- Use caution with supplements and herbal remedies. Excessive amounts of certain vitamin supplements and some herbal extractsmay be harmful to your kidneys. Talk to your doctor about any vitamins and herbs you plan to take.
- 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.
- Don’t overdo it when taking over-the-counter medications.“Common non-prescription pills like ibuprofen and naproxen (NSAID’s) can cause kidney damage if taken too regularly over a prolonged period,” Dr. Simon says. If you have healthy kidneys and use these medicines for occasional pain, they probably don’t pose a risk. But Dr. Simon says that if you take them for chronic pain or arthritis, you should talk to your doctor about monitoring your kidney function or finding alternative ways to control your pain.
- If you’re at risk, get regular kidney function screening.“If you have either diabetes or high blood pressure, your physician should screen for kidney dysfunction as part of routine care for those conditions,” Dr. Simon says.
The big kidney health takeaway
Often, we are not aware that by healing some parts of the body, the medications affect other organs. It is important to take care of the whole body, because if you want to keep your kidneys safe you should take care of your body to reduce your chances of developing diseases that put a strain on your kidneys.
Dr. Simon says, “Eat healthily, exercise regularly and control your weight. These healthy practices are not new and definitely not specific to kidney health. Healthy kidneys like a healthy body.”