Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol harms your kidneys in several ways, explains Maruschak. Its a waste product that your kidneys have to filter out of your blood and it makes your kidneys less efficient. Its dehydrating, which can affect the kidneys ability to regulate your bodys water levels. It can affect your liver function, which in turn can impact blood flow to the kidneys and lead to CKD over time. And a high alcohol intake has been liked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to kidney disease.
Maruschak says both men and women should drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per day. Thats 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Its always best to speak with your physician about your alcohol intake, as some people should not be consuming any alcohol at all, she says.
Aim For A Healthy Weight
The NIH Body Weight Planner is an online tool to help you tailor your calorie and physical activity plans to achieve and stay at a healthy weight.
If you are overweight or have obesity, work with your health care provider or dietitian to create a realistic weight-loss plan. View more weight control and physical activity resources to help you get and stay motivated.
Why Hydration Is Important
Your body needs hydration to survive. In fact, if you were stranded on a deserted island without food or drinkable water, you would dehydrate faster than you would starve. Island or no, dehydration can affect anyone and can even be quite severe. Dehydration can cause cognitive issues, headache, dizziness, increased heart rate, urinary problems, and a host of other potentially dangerous side effects.
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Natural Products To Use Carefully
These common nutritional supplements can potentially damage the kidneys if not monitored regularly:
Bulk-forming laxatives like flaxseed
Herbal supplements from other countries
Herbal diuretics like bucha, uva ursi, parsley, and juniper berry could be potential trouble sources since they can interact with many prescription drugs.
Herbal supplements that can interact with drugs commonly used by CKD patients should be avoided, including: St. Johns Wort, echinacea, ginkgo, garlic, ginseng, licorice, ginger, and blue cohosh. In kidney transplant patients or those on dialysis these should be mostly avoided. This is not to say that these herbs are not beneficial. On the contrary they all can reduce inflammation and prevent further kidney disease. They just need careful monitoring for drug-nutrient interactions.
Chronic Kidney Disease manifests in different ways from individual to individual. A natural health care providers advice on diet and appropriate supplementation would be based on biochemical individuality, so its highly recommended that you dont make any changes on your own without some professional guidance.
Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
Your kidneys arent very bigeach is about the size of your fistbut they do important work. They keep you healthy by maintaining just the right balance of water and other substances inside your body.
Unfortunately, if your kidneys start to malfunction, you might not realize it for a long while. Kidney disease usually doesnt make you feel sick until the problem becomes serious and irreversible. March is National Kidney Month, a perfect time to learn more about how to keep your kidneys healthy and how to catch problems early.
Your kidneys are 2 reddish, bean-shaped organs located on either side of your spine in the middle of your back. Their main job is to filter your blood. Each kidney contains about a million tiny filters that can process around 40 gallons of fluid every dayabout enough to fill a houses hot water heater. When blood passes through the kidney, the filters sift and hold onto the substances your body might need, such as certain nutrients and much of the water. Harmful wastes and extra water and nutrients are routed to the nearby bladder and flushed away as urine.
Your kidneys also produce several hormonesMolecules sent through the bloodstream to signal another part of the body to grow or react a certain way.. These hormones help to control your blood pressure, make red blood cells and activate vitamin D, which keeps your bones strong.
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Do Not Smoke Or Drink Too Much Alcohol
Try to stop smoking completely and limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
Both men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis.
Drinking too much alcohol and smoking both raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney disease.
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Ask Your Health Care Provider Questions
Ask your health care provider the following key questions about your kidney health during your next medical visit. The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner you can get treatment to help protect your kidneys.
Key questions for your health care provider:
- What is my glomerular filtration rate ?
- What is my urine albumin result?
- What is my blood pressure?
- What is my blood glucose ?
- How often should I get my kidneys checked?
Other important questions:
- What should I do to keep my kidneys healthy?
- Do I need to be taking different medicines?
- Should I be more physically active?
- What kind of physical activity can I do?
- What can I eat?
Nutrients To Be Aware Of
Keep in mind that there are plenty of other healthy options that will do your kidneys, and your body, plenty of good. If you do have chronic kidney disease, there are a few nutrients you should be aware of.
Your kidneys regulate potassium, which is why its so important to monitor how much you are eating on a regular basis. Your kidneys also have a role in red blood cell production, meaning that if they arent functioning correctly your count may be low. Eating iron-rich foods can help prevent this and help keep your energy levels up.
On the opposite side of the equation, salt can be your enemy. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure and make your heart and kidneys work too hard. Be careful about how much salt you use in cooking and also watch the salt content of pre-packaged foods like canned soups, frozen dinners, and boxed meals. Salt substitutes may also contain a lot of potassium, so try herbs to add flavor and give it some time. You can get used to eating less salt, but it does take six to eight weeks for your taste buds to get used to it.
Lastly, we mentioned phosphorus, but it is worth repeating. A low-phosphorus diet should include lots of fresh fruits and veggies, rice milk, corn and rice cereals, as well as lemonade and even ginger ale.
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S To Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy
Start by asking your doctor for blood panel readings of your BUN and creatinine levels and your eGFR numbers.
|Kidney damage||Greater than 60 mg/min|
Scores from these tests tell you how strong your kidneys are now. Because kidney diseases can be symptom-free, you may not notice anything wrong before youve suffered irreparable damage. To prevent getting in that situation, I advise you to:
Take Care With Antibiotics
These bacteria-fighting drugs can damage your kidneys if you use them too often. It can happen even if youâre perfectly healthy, though itâs more serious if your kidneys donât work as well as they should. Some types, like penicillin, sulfonamides, and cephalosporins, are more likely to cause problems.
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The Water Hydration Technique
You know how most of us generally go for long periods without water, become thirsty and scull the next available glass in about 30 seconds? Have you ever thought what this does to your body? No? I dont blame you.
The actual fact of the matter is that every time you a drink a glass of water in a hurry, you are placing pressure on kidney function. How? Well, seeing as one of the functions of the kidneys is to keep the fluid levels in the blood stream balanced, by drinking a full glass of water at once you are essentially dumping a large amount of water into the blood stream, which the kidneys now need to balance out . By drinking slowly, a mouthful at a time, you reduce the pressure on the kidneys and increase hydration. Sound too simple to do any good? Good. Now try it.
Dont Overdo Certain Medications
NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and naproxen. They can damage your kidneys if you take too many at once or take them too often. And using proton pump inhibitors for an ulcer or GERD for a long time can raise your chances of chronic kidney disease. You should only take them if your doctor says you need them.
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Ways To Keep Your Kidneys Happy
Did you know that March is National Kidney Month? This is a time of year to raise special awareness about kidney health and to share facts on ways to keep kidneys healthy. 1 in 3 Americans is at risk for kidney disease.
More than 26 million Americans already have a kidney disease. The problem is most are not aware, because there are no signs of kidney disease until it has progressed. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for preventing kidney problems, such as kidney stones.
The good news is there are some actions you can take to improve the chances of keeping those kidneys happy! Here are five things to consider:
Limit Saturated Fats And Avoid Trans Fat
Diets that are high in saturated and trans fats increase the risk of heart disease and whats bad for your heart is bad for your kidneys. Heart health and kidney health are interconnected, as the heart constantly pumps blood throughout the body and the kidneys continuously filter the blood in order to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body, Maruschak says.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting saturated fats to less than 10 percent of your total daily calories. Main sources include meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil, says Maruschak. And try to avoid trans fats, found in baked goods and fried foods. Instead, fill up on heart-healthy unsaturated fats, found in fatty fish, avocados, olives, walnuts, and many types of vegetable oils.
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Maintain A Healthy Diet
When you have kidney disease, eating well is incredibly important. A healthy diet will not only make you feel better but it can also help slow your kidney disease down. It may seem like a big lifestyle change at first but here are some ways to improve your diet:
1. Keep your salt intake to a minimum.
Foods high in salt can really put a strain on your kidneys. Try to keep your sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams per day. Remember that restaurant meals and ready meals from grocery stores are loaded with salt. One restaurant meal can easily account for a whole days worth of salt. Make meals at home, with healthy ingredients, to make sure your diet remains low in salt.
2. Avoid high protein diets.
A good rule of thumb is to have one serving of protein per meal. Any more and your kidneys will be working overtime.
3. Choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
People with kidney disease are at increased risk of heart disease so keep an eye on your cholesterol. Choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as fish, lean meats, egg substitutes and spreads instead of butter and margarine.
4. Stop smoking.
Smoking substantially increases your risk for all kidney-related problems, including heart disease. Work with your doctor to find ways to help you quit smoking.
How Diet Can Impact Kidney Health
The kidneys are filled with tiny blood vessels that help filter waste and extra water from your blood and remove them from your body. If you have CKD, your kidneys cant filter blood as well as they should, causing excess waste to build up in your body.
Diabetes and hypertension are the two leading causes of kidney disease. High blood sugar levels in uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure can damage the kidneys blood vessels, leaving them unable do their job properly, says Krista Maruschak, RD, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinics Center for Human Nutrition.
Untreated or uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure can have a significant effect on the development of CKD over time, says Maruschak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes and over a third of adults have prediabetes, while about half of American adults age 20 and over have hypertension. These individuals are also at an increased risk of developing CKD.
A healthy diet can help you prevent or manage conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, in part by helping you to maintain a healthy weight, says Maruschak. In turn, this supports your kidney health.
As part of a kidney-friendly diet, you may also need to limit certain foods to help prevent further kidney damage.
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Are You Concerned About Your Kidney Function Talk With Your Primary Care Physician About Seeing A Nephrology Specialist
Keep Your Kidneys Healthy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Six-Step Guide to Protecting Kidney Health. National Kidney Foundation.
The Live Better Team
Blood And Urine Tests
If your doctor thinks you might have chronic kidney failure, they will order blood and urine tests.
Blood tests for kidney function measure the levels of electrolytes and waste in your blood. They measure waste products such as creatinine and blood urea. Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle metabolism. Blood urea is leftover when your body breaks down proteins. When your kidneys are working properly, they excrete both substances.
Urine tests will be performed to check for abnormalities. For example, protein is normally only present in trace amounts in your urine. An elevated protein level might indicate kidney problems months or even years before other symptoms appear. Your urine sediment and cells found in your urine will also be examined in a laboratory.
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Monitor Your Diabetes Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Levels
In the United States, diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure.
Diabetes is vastly driven by obesity, which can cause high blood pressure and cholesterol, Peev says. And diabetic kidney disease is the No. 1 reason for developing end-stage CKD, so its important that you have it under control.
Further, a study by the National Kidney Foundation found that people with high cholesterol are twice as likely to develop CKD.
If you are overweight and can lose weight through changes in your diet and activity level, Peev says you can significantly reduce your risk of CKD.