March is Kidney Month! It’s the perfect time to spread awareness about kidney disease, as well as practice prevention. To kick off this informative and educational month, Wold Kidney Day takes place on March 9th.
Your kidneys are truly amazing organs that oversee numerous vital tasks that keep your body healthy and functioning properly. The most important job your kidneys do is removing toxins and excess water from your blood. They also help control blood pressure and keep your bones healthy, by producing red blood cells.
Here’s a brief overview of what your kidneys do for you:
- Remove toxins and unwanted fluid from your blood
- Helps create urine
- Controls blood pressure
- Maintains healthy bones
- Produces red blood cells
- Maintains your body’s chemical balance
As you can see, we keep our kidneys pretty busy, and they have some very important tasks. However, 1 in 10 adults in the United States, over the age of 20, has chronic kidney disease (CKD). Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys lose their ability to remove toxins and balance fluids and chemicals within the body. The severity of kidney disease can vary and it can develop quickly or over the course of many years.
Kidney disease can remain silent, which is why people do not get diagnosed quickly. However, there are many people that are at a higher risk than others. For example, those with diabetes, high blood pressure, a history of cardiovascular disease, or a family history of kidney disease are pre-disposed to kidney disease. Other groups that can be high risk are Africans, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Aboriginal individuals over the age of 65. Although there are groups that are recognized as being high risk, it’s clear that kidney disease can affect anyone.
What you can do
If you’re over 18 years old, or if you have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or have a history of kidney disease in your family you should get screened for kidney disease. Again, kidney disease does not always show signs or symptoms so it’s important to get checked. However, if you feel fatigued frequently, have swollen ankles, experience a loss in appetite, find blood or foam in your urine then it’s important you get checked right away.
How is kidney disease treated?
Early detection can actually prevent disease! It’s also important to maintain or develop a proper diet, monitoring amounts of sodium, protein, and fluids. It’s really important to stay active, exercise and stay hydrated.
How to prevent kidney disease?
Prevention is key to keeping kidney disease away! There are 8 gold rules you can follow, to take care of your kidneys.
The best way to prevent kidney disease is to:
- Stop smoking if you’re a smoker
- Reduce alcohol intake
- If you’re overweight, focus on weight loss
- Follow a healthy diet
- Lower the amount of sodium/salt you consume
- Get more exercise
- Stay hydrated
- Lower your blood pressure
Kidney month is all about raising awareness for keeping your kidneys healthy. They play such a vital role in your overall health, and yet they are so easy to overlook. If you’re looking for ways to increase your healthfulness, and exercise more, we have some great tips for you here. If you have questions about kidney disease or are concerned about your health, it’s best to talk to your doctor and get screened.