National Kidney Month- The low down on these powerhouses

March 5, 2019

When most people think of the kidneys, they think of their function as filter organs, removing waste from the body. In this function, kidneys are busy little organs – filtering through about 200 quarts of fluid every 24 hours. Some of the fluids will be removed via urine, and the rest is returned to the body. But the kidneys are responsible for so much more. These fist-sized organs are located at each side of our spine at the lowest part of our rib cage.

These powerful organs perform all of the following functions:

  • Remove waste products from the body
  • Balance the body’s fluids
  • Release hormones that help regulate blood pressure
  • Helps to build bones by releasing an active form of vitamin D
  • Helps control the production of red blood cells

Now that we know how much these little organs do, let’s look at the risk factors that increase our possibility of developing kidney disease.

Major risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Being 60 years or older
  • Having a family history of kidney disease
  • Having a family history of high blood pressure and/or diabetes
  • Kidney disease is also more prevalent in the African American, Hispanic American, Asians, Pacific Islander and American Indian populations.

 

The National Kidney Foundation has a campaign titled “Take 5 for Your Kidneys.” This focuses on 5 simple steps you can take to help protect your kidneys and reduce your risk of developing kidney disease:

  1. Get Tested – Ask your doctor for an ACR urine test or a GFR blood test annually if you have any of the above risk factors.
  2. Reduce Your Use of NSAIDs – Regular use of these pain relievers is hard on your kidneys and can cause damage.
  3. Reduce Processed Foods – Sodium, nitrates and phosphates have all been linked to cancer, heart disease and kidney disease.
  4. Get Active – Exercise is good for all your organs – including your kidneys! 30 minutes a day can make a difference in overall health.
  5. Control Blood Pressure and Diabetes – these are the leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure. Managing these conditions can slow the progression of kidney disease.

With kidney disease being so prevalent and with the statistics proving most don’t know about the risk, it is important that we speak to our doctors about our risk factors, take steps to protect our kidneys and help raise awareness of kidney disease.

 

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Written By: S. Campbell for Access Health Care Physicians, LLC. 

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