Are you caring for your kidneys? If you're not sure, it's time to take a closer look at how your kidneys function, your risk factors for kidney disease and some good ways to practice prevention.
Your kidneys are fist-sized, bean-shaped vital organs located in the middle of your back, just below your rib cage. They filter and chemically balance your blood by removing wastes and extra water and turning them into urine.
Your kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood per day, sorting out around two quarts of waste and water. Typically, kidney disease slowly affects your kidneys' ability to function and filter your blood, and its progression is irreversible. Sometimes, it can take years or even decades for the damage to become noticeable.
According to research, about 26 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD), despite the fact that it's preventable. There are primary risk factors to consider, like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney disease and advancing age. Secondary risk factors include obesity, autoimmune disease, urinary tract infections and systemic infections. While kidney disease cannot be cured, it can be prevented, and its progress can be slowed by certain behaviors.
The first steps to keeping your kidneys healthy are maintaining an active lifestyle and a healthy weight. Additional steps can include avoiding the overuse of ibuprofen and/or naproxen (Aleve), eating a healthy diet, getting an annual physical, lowering your high blood pressure or high cholesterol and knowing your risk factors. Be sure not to consume more than 3,000 milligrams of salt daily, and eat more heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. If you smoke or abuse alcohol, quit immediately.
If you think you might have kidney disease or might be at risk for kidney disease, see your healthcare provider to have your blood and urine checked. Visit a healthcare provider at Goshen Health to learn more about your risk level, kidney health and more ways to promote kidney health.