Proactive Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Kidney Disease
The kidneys are fist-sized organs that perform many important functions in our bodies. They help to control blood pressure and remove excess fluids, waste products, and toxins.
Kidney disease can develop due to either diabetes or high blood pressure, and both conditions can lead to kidney failure. But if caught early, there are steps that can be taken to help manage the symptoms of chronic kidney disease and slow its progression.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is one of the biggest risk factors for chronic kidney disease. Left untreated, high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels that supply your kidneys and eyes, increasing your risk of kidney failure and other serious health conditions.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medications that lower it. These include diuretics, which help your kidneys remove excess fluid in your body, and ACE inhibitors, which reduce the amount of a chemical called angiotensin that causes your blood vessels to tighten.
Monitoring your blood pressure at home is an effective way to track how well your treatment or lifestyle changes are working and if your readings are still high. But it is important to note that it is not a substitute for regular visits to your doctor, so if you have been prescribed medication to lower your blood pressure, talk to your doctor first.
Exercise regularly is one of the best proactive ways to reduce your risk of kidney disease. It can help to keep your blood pressure under control and may also help to lower your cholesterol levels.
In addition, regular physical activity can increase your muscle strength and bone health and can also improve your overall well-being. It can also reduce your stress, another important factor in reducing kidney disease risk.
Whether you’re an athlete or someone who enjoys walking, the right amount of physical activity can make a big difference to your health. Talk to your doctor about what exercises are right for you, and start small – even 30 minutes a day is better than none!
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can help to control diabetes, high blood pressure, and other kidney-disease risk factors. Eating a low-sodium and phosphorus diet can help reduce your risk of kidney disease. Sodium is a mineral found naturally in foods, but eating too much can raise your blood pressure.
Phosphorus is another mineral that can build up in your blood when your kidneys don’t work properly. This can pull calcium from your bones, leading to bone disease and breakage.
The best way to control phosphorus is to limit the dairy you eat. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are all high in phosphorus.
Fruits and vegetables are also a good choice, especially dark green, red, and orange veggies. They contain plenty of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Add one or two servings of fruits and vegetables daily to your diet.
Quitting smoking will reduce your risk of kidney disease and other health problems, including cancer. It can also save you money and improve your quality of life.
Stopping smoking also helps you control your blood pressure and diabetes. People with high blood pressure and diabetes are at greater risk of developing CKD.
In addition, some medicines used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes affect the blood flow to your organs, making it harder for them to work.
Keep a List of Your Medications
Keeping a list of your medications can help to keep your kidneys healthy. It also can reduce your risk of medication errors, which could lead to health issues.
Your list should include a brand and generic name, strength, what you use it for, and how to take it. This information is important when seeing your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including popular pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen, can damage your kidneys if you take them for a long time, when you are dehydrated, or have low blood pressure. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should avoid NSAIDs to protect your kidneys.
High blood pressure medications can also cause kidney damage, so your doctor may recommend them to lower your blood pressure and preserve your kidney function. Other drugs, such as diuretics, can help balance your body’s fluids. Your doctor might also prescribe medicine to treat anemia. They can help to increase your red blood cells or relieve fatigue and weakness.
Get Regular Checkups
Getting regular checkups is an important part of managing your health. They allow your doctor to detect any changes that might be concerning quickly. They can also help you manage your health and prevent certain diseases from occurring.
Your doctor will monitor your kidney function during your checkups with blood and urine tests. These can detect early signs of kidney disease.
One of the most common tests is a blood test for creatinine, a waste product left over from the breakdown of proteins in your body. A high level of creatinine in the blood signifies that your kidneys aren’t working properly.
Your doctor will also check your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), the amount of waste your kidneys can filter from your blood in one minute. Healthy kidneys should be able to filter more than 90ml/min.
Kidney disease is a serious condition that can lead to death, especially if it’s not diagnosed early. It’s best to be proactive in reducing your risk of kidney disease by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and managing your medical conditions.