Top Ways to Protect Your Kidneys

Kidney Health Care - David Mangusan Jr, PTRP

Protecting Your Kidneys from Further or Future Damage
The kidneys play an important role in keeping the right amount of water in the body. In addition, they also help filter out harmful wastes and maintain balance of chemicals in the body. Further more, the kidneys play a role in maintaining normal blood pressure and the normal number of red blood cells in the blood.

In kidney disease, parts of the kidneys that filter out wastes are damaged. Harmful wastes and substances can build up in the body that can lead to a variety of symptoms. When the kidneys totally fail to work, a person has to have his blood filtered through a machine (a procedure called dialysis) for several times a week or has to get a kidney transplant.

There are several things that you can do to prevent or delay the onset of kidney disease. Some of the things you can do include:
 Have your blood and urine checked regularly.

If you think that you are at risk of having kidney problems, make sure to let your doctor about it. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and family history of kidney problems. Early stages of kidney disease might not present with any signs or symptoms. So talk to your health care provider about having it checked.

 Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Under Control.

Diabetes can cause diabetic kidney disease, also called diabetic neuropathy, which can lead to kidney failure if left untreated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, controlling your blood sugar levels can prevent or delay the onset of kidney disease.

 Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control. Over time, high blood pressure (or hypertension) can damage your kidneys. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that people with diabetes and reduced kidney function should keep their blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg. You may want to check your blood pressure at home to be sure it stays lower than 130/80. Have your health care provider check your blood pressure at least 4 times a year.

Not all medicines that lower blood pressure help protect your kidneys. Your doctor may have you take blood pressure pills, called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). These types of medications have been found to protect the kidneys more than other medicines that lower blood pressure to similar levels.

 Choose Healthy Foods.

Your doctor may ask you to cut back on foods high in proteins (such as meat, milk, and cheese). A high-protein diet can cause more damage to your kidneys over time. Eating less sodium and fats is also a good idea. A renal dietitian can help develop a good dietary plan for you, especially if you already have kidney disease.

 Exercise.

Physical activity can help you control your blood sugar, weight, and blood pressure, as well as raise your “good” cholesterol and lower your “bad” cholesterol. Talk to your health care provider about safe exercise plan, especially if you already have kidney problems.
References:

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (June 2006). Frequently Asked Questions: Exercise and Diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta Georgia. June 27, 2006.

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (December 2005). Take Charge of Your Diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta Georgia. December 20, 2005.

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (July 2006). Kidney Failure: What to Expect. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD. NIH Publication No. 06-6059, July 2006.

National Kindey and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (July 2006). Kidney Disease of Diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD. NIH Publication No. 08-3925, January 2008.

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (July 2006). Kidney Failure: What to Expect. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD. NIH Publication No. 07-3195, August 2007.

Page Last Revised: July 20, 2010

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