Kidney disease is a serious problem in the U.S. Over 3.5 million people suffer from some form of kidney disease. Kidney disease is progressive, but there are things anyone can do to improve kidney health. Start today by taking these five steps.
#1 Know What Healthy Kidneys Do
Everyone is born with two kidneys that do important work in the body. Healthy kidneys regulate the body’s levels of fluid and electrolytes. Individuals get very sick if fluid levels are outside normal parameters. Further, electrolytes must stay balanced for normal body function. Additionally, kidneys flush toxins and waste from the blood.
Those with kidney disease often have high blood pressure. That’s because kidneys release a hormone that regulates blood pressure. The kidneys also activate Vitamin D to build strong bones. Individuals with kidney disease should investigate klotho-based therapy to support kidney function. Klotho is a protein associated with normal kidney function. Researchers believe klotho treatment can restore some kidney function. Anyone with kidney disease faces these risks:
· heart disease
· heart disease and stroke
· high blood pressure
· loss of life
· weak bones
· kidney failure
· nerve damage
#2 Assess Your Risk
There are several risk factors for kidney disease. Obesity is a risk factor because the condition brings on diabetes and high blood pressure. Diabetes and high blood pressure can cause kidney disease. Those with a family history of diabetes and kidney disease face a greater risk. Further, you are at risk if there’s a history of heart disease. Other risk factors include being African American or having an auto-immune disease like Lupus. Auto-immune diseases may inflame the kidneys, which makes it harder for them to function.
#3 Recognize Symptoms
Symptoms of kidney disease include increased thirst and a frequent need to urinate. Sometimes, it may be painful to urinate. Other symptoms include blood in the urine and foamy urine. Further, a patient may have swelling in the ankles, feet, and abdomen. Swelling in the face and hands is also possible.
#4 Get Tested
Anyone who suspects they have kidney disease should see a nephrologist. Nephrologists specialize in kidney problems. Blood pressure will be tested because high blood pressure damages blood vessels in the kidneys. They’ll check for protein in the urine. Traces of a certain protein indicates kidney disease. The third test checks the glomerular filtration rate (GFR.) These levels indicate how well the kidneys filter the blood. The test measures blood creatinine levels and applies a formula based on age, gender, and race. Scores above 90 are good while those with a result between 60 and 90 are monitored. Three monthly test results below 60 indicate kidney disease.
#5. Stay Healthy
Restore your kidneys by living a healthy lifestyle. Lose weight and use less sodium to lower the chances of high blood pressure or diabetes. Keep the conditions under control if you already have them. Avoid NSAIDs because the medication increases the chances of getting kidney disease. Eat more leafy green vegetables and reduce the amount of meat in the diet. Quit smoking and start exercising.
Kidney disease doesn’t have to be a death sentence. See a nephrologist to monitor your condition and start working on restoring kidney health. The main things are to keep blood pressure and diabetes in check. Start exercising and maintain a healthy weight.