For internal organs shaped like beans, your kidneys are mean lifestyle machines. It’s their duty to get rid of wastes – stored in your bladder, to be excreted through urine – found in your blood.
You can’t just rely on your doctor to do all the work for you; you also need to take a more active role in making sure that your kidneys stay in great shape as this is essential for your body as a whole to function properly. . That said, here are 10 things you absolutely must do in order to keep your kidneys healthy:
- Keep fit; be active
You’ll be surprised to know that working out isn’t just good for your waistline; it can also keep you as far away as possible from chronic kidney disease. Maintaining an active lifestyle boosts your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure, without any shadow of doubt keeping kidney damage from happening.
The best part is that you don’t need to run marathons to make it happen; even simple things like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and even dancing would do you a lot of good. Try to do something you like to keep you on your toes; it’ll be much easier to stick to, and with a lot of consistency, results are something that you can expect to see.
- Be proactive; check your sugar
When the cells in our body can’t make use of the sugar in our blood, our kidneys will be forced to put in twice as much work just to keep up in filtering blood. This goes without saying: it poses health hazards, possibly leading to life-threatening damage over years of overexertion.
On the up side, if you can control your blood sugar, chances of damage happening would be greatly reduced. If caught early, your doctor can take steps in order to reduce, if not prevent further damage.
- Pressure pushing down on me (and you)
High blood pressure can also cause damage to your kidneys. When put together with other factors like diabetes, heart disease, or even high cholesterol levels, you should expect your body to take a hit.
Do you even know if you have high blood pressure? If you feel that painful sensation in your nape, then it’s highly likely that you have high blood pressure. Be sure to talk to the doc about keeping your blood pressure in check regularly, making lifestyle changes, and possibly even taking medication to keep it at bay.
- Watch it; eat healthy
Obese people are at risk for numerous conditions that can cause kidney damage, including diabetes, heart problems, and yes, even kidney disease.
You might want to go low on your sodium intake, skipping on processed meats and other food types that have ridiculously-high salt levels, all in the name of reducing the risks of kidney damage. As substitutes, you may want to consider foods like cauliflower, fish, whole grains, and the like. Surely, there’s something in the mix that you’d actually like to eat.
- Don’t think; drink!
Water, that is! What can be considered the “right” fluid intake levels will depend on factors like exercise, climate, health conditions, even pregnancy and breastfeeding. Normally, this would mean drinking 8 cups of water (approximately 2 liters) every day, but keep in mind that this only applies in ideal conditions.
Under more severe situations, though, you’ll need to adjust your water intake levels, especially when climate conditions are harsh or when you’re suffering from kidney/heart/liver disease. Just to be sure, talk to your doctor so you can determine the most appropriate intake levels for you. One thing is for sure, however: if you’ve had kidney stones before, you’ll definitely want to drink more water than your usual.
- Lay off the alcohol
Drinking more than four servings of alcohol a day ups your chances of getting chronic kidney disease (CKD) by two. If you drink AND smoke, you’re definitely setting yourself up for some serious problems since smoking drinkers have about five times the chance of developing CKD than people who steer clear of the drinks and the stink sticks.
- Sleep it off; sleep it off!
We get it; sometimes you’re compelled to burn the midnight oil because you have a lot of catching up to do with work, among other things.
You need to bear in mind that nothing beats a good night’s rest; it’s extremely important to your well-being, and as it turns out, to your kidneys, as well. Your kidney function is regulated by your sleeping cycle which helps coordinate your kidneys’ workload over a 24-hour span.
- Give up the smokes
As we all know, smoking can bring damage to our blood vessels, which lead to slower blood flow through our bodies, and then to our kidneys.
Smoking also puts our kidneys at an increased risk for the big C; cancer, that is. The sooner you stop smoking, the sooner your risk levels will drop. As a consequence, however, it will take a long time for your risk levels to return to how they used to be during your clean-living days.
- Take it easy on the painkillers
Surprisingly, even painkillers can do some serious damage to your kidney if taken without any form of moderation.
If you’re already suffering from kidney disease or already have decreased kidney function, even just a few doses can already wreck your kidneys. If you have any doubts, you can always check with your doctor or pharmacist; there’s far more harm in not asking for guidance.
- High-risk? Get checked!
If you’re at high risk of kidney disease, it’s always a great idea to have your kidney function checked every so often, especially if you just happen to be any of the following:
– Over 60-years-old
– Born at a low birth weight
– Have heart problems or have a family history
– Believe you may have kidney damage
Getting kidney function tests regularly is a good way to determine how healthy your kidney is, and at the same time, to see if there are any possible changes to it. If you’re able to detect it early, you can be assured that future damage can be slowed down, if not prevented.
We can’t stress this enough: your kidneys are vital to your overall health, and keeping them in shape has to become a top priority. You don’t want to get sick because of something that can still be prevented, do you?