Diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney failure put one in three Americans at an increased risk of kidney failure. The kidneys are complicated organs that have many tasks, which are necessary for maintaining overall health. They are efficient and compact filters that operate more efficiently than the dialysis machines that are used to maintain patients with kidney failure. Sadly, many people live with kidney problems or kidney disease, but World Kidney Day aims to increase kidney awareness and offer tips to maintain optimal kidney function.
What Are The Kidneys?
These bean-shaped organs are located just below the ribcage on either side of the spine. Healthy kidneys will filter about a half-cup of blood every minute, removing extra water and waste to make urine, which flows to the bladder through the ureters. The kidneys have the job of removing waste and excess fluid from the body, but they also have the job of removing acid that cells produce to balance minerals in the blood. Finally, the kidneys make hormones that work to:
- Make red blood cells
- Control your blood pressure
- Keep your bones healthy
Mission Of World Kidney Day:
From public screenings in Argentina to Zumba marathons in Malaysia (yes, this is real thing), the events that World Kidney Day sponsor aim to raise awareness about the kidneys and how integral they are to maintaining overall health. In order to keep the kidneys healthy, it is important to assess potential risk factors, discuss preventative behaviors, and give tips for how to live with kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease rates continue to rise, so take action before it’s too late for your kidneys. Use the following tips to keep your kidneys as healthy as possible.
Quit Smoking (And Vaping Too!):
We can all agree that smoking is terrible for your health, yet people still do it. Cigarettes damage blood vessels and decrease blood flow in the kidneys. If the kidneys don’t receive an adequate amount of blood, they cannot function optimally. In addition to depriving the kidneys of sufficient blood flow, smoking increases the risk of high blood pressure and kidney cancer. Some say vaping isn’t bad for you, but the chemicals in vaping solutions can easily damage overall health.
Drink Water, But Don’t Go Crazy:
You don’t have to drink a lake to keep your kidneys healthy; rather, it is wise to maintain consistent hydration levels for increased kidney function. The suggested amount of water to drink is half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. If you weigh 150 pounds and divide that by two to get 75, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water per day. You may need to adjust this number based on physical activity. And don’t let yourself get dehydrated! Depriving your kidneys of water is the worst thing you can do for them.
Follow A Low-Protein Diet:
Most people are taught to eat as much protein as possible, and they fear the absence of protein in their diet. If you have damaged kidneys and want to keep them from becoming worse, the protein you consume should only amount to 10-15% of your total caloric intake. One of the ways to do this is to focus on obtaining protein from plant-based foods and decrease the amount of animal proteins you consume.
Take It Easy With Over-The-Counter Meds:
People pop non-prescription pills like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen as if they are going out of style. These over-the-counter medications can cause severe kidney damage if they are taken regularly, or for an extended period of time. Your kidneys may not be at risk if you use these meds for occasional pain, but taking them for chronic pain may impair kidney function. You may want to consult with a professional about alternative pain management methods if you are dependent on these types of medications.
The best way to keep your kidneys healthy is by caring for your body. Eat healthy, control your weight, stay hydrated, and exercise on a regular basis. All of these things keep the body and the kidneys functioning optimally.