One in three Americans are at an increased risk of developing kidney disease due to high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney failure. Even if you do not fit in any of these risk categories, make sure you take care of your kidneys as it will benefit your overall health.
7 secrets for healthy kidneys
There are quite a few things you can do to keep your kidneys functioning properly and as healthy as possible at every stage of life.
- Take in liquids, but do not overdo it. “Contrary to popular belief, no studies have proven over-hydration as an effective practice in enhancing kidney function,” says nephrologist James Simon, MD. It is good to drink enough water, but drinking more than the typical four to six glasses a day will probably not help your kidneys improve their function.
- Eat healthy foods. Your kidneys can tolerate a wide range of dietary habits, but most problems are a result of other medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. The advice is to follow healthy, moderate eating habits to control weight and blood pressure. Preventing diabetes and high blood pressure will help keep healthy kidneys.
- Exercise regularly. Exercising is beneficial and like healthy eating habits, regular physical activity will regulate your weight and high blood pressure. You should also be careful about how much exercise you do because overexerting yourself if you are not in shape can encumber your kidneys.
- Ease up on the supplements and herbal remedies. Disproportionate amounts of certain vitamin supplements and some herbal extracts may cause damage to your kidneys. Check for the recommended daily dose of each supplement or vitamin and make sure you aren’t taking the same vitamin twice by combining multivitamin capsules and singe vitamin capsules.
- Stop smoking. Smoking can damage blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood to the kidneys. If the kidneys don’t have adequate blood flow, their optimal function is disturbed. The risk of high blood pressure and kidney cancer increases in smokers.
- Be careful when taking medications. “Common non-prescription pills like ibuprofen and naproxen can cause kidney damage if taken too regularly over a prolonged period,” Dr. Simon says. Having healthy kidneys and using medicine for occasional treatment of pain does not increase the risk. But if you take them for chronic pain or arthritis, you should talk to your doctor about monitoring your kidney function or finding alternative ways to pain control.
- Get regular kidney function screening If you’re at risk. If you have either diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor will screen for any kidney dysfunction as part of routine care for those conditions.
Often, your kidneys simply become affected by other medical conditions. So you must maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent any type of disease and as Dr. Simon says:
“Eat healthy, exercise regularly and control your weight. These healthy practices are not new and definitely not specific to kidney health. Healthy kidneys like a healthy body.”