Keeping your Kidneys Healthy

Keeping your Kidneys Healthy

The kidneys work around the clock to cleanse our body of waste and extra fluid, both of which are removed through the urine. The small, bean-shaped organs also release hormones to balance blood pressure, control the production of red blood cells and remove drugs from the body. 

Kidney disease affects 10% of the world’s population. When not functioning properly, waste and toxins can build up in the body causing issues. 

There are simple things you can do to be sure you’re taking care of your kidneys. 

Stay Active

There is no limit to the benefits of moving your body! When you move around 30 minutes a day, it helps prevent obesity, which can be a major factor for kidney disease. 

Consume Intentionally

When filling your plate, try to limit sodium, potassium and phosphorous to keep your kidneys feeling healthy. Need inspiration? Try to eat more of these foods: 

  • Cauliflower – full of vitamin C, vitamin K, and B vitamin, cauliflower is an anti-inflammatory food that serves as a great source of fiber.
  • Blueberries – a natural antioxidant, blueberries help protect against heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes.
  • Garlic – as you try to limit your salt intake, garlic can serve a valuable role in adding flavor to your meals. With manganese, vitamin C and vitamin B6, garlic also offers a benefit to both your health and your tastebuds.
  • Fatty Fish – a healthy source of protein.
  • Dark, Leafy Greens – spinach, kale, and their similar counterparts offer many key vitamins and nutrients to your system. Be careful to watch for too much potassium, as they do tend to be higher in potassium than some other vegetables.

Drink Fluids

Dehydration reduces blood flow to your kidneys, which can cause damage or worsen it. Our bodies naturally lose water throughout the day through urine, sweat and regular body functions like breathing. Even if you aren’t feeling thirsty, experts recommend sipping on water constantly throughout the day. Not sure how much water to aim for? The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 2.7 liters a day for women and 3.7 liters a day for men. 

Manage Blood Sugar

For those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, kidney damage can develop from the body working harder to filter glucose from the blood. If you have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes, be sure to keep an eye on your blood sugar and talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

Monitor Blood Pressure

Over time, high blood pressure can cause kidney damage. Keeping an eye on your blood pressure readings and talking to your doctor if it is consistently over 140/90 can help prevent long-term kidney damage. 

Avoid Smoking & Limit Alcohol

While there are many reasons to limit your nicotine and alcohol intake, preserving kidney function is one of them. Smoking causes damage to your body’s blood vessels, which leads to slower blood flow throughout your entire body and to your kidney. Smoking puts our bodies at increased risk for cancer. 

Use Over-the-Counter Drugs Cautiously

Pain medication, also referred to as ‘analgesics,’ such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium should be avoided altogether if you have decreased kidney function because they decrease blood flow to the kidneys. Even with normal kidney function, be cautious of any long-term, consistent use and always follow the label instructions for the shortest period of time. 

Science Care’s Role in Kidney Health

Science Care donors continually play a key role in scientific advancements intended to improve kidney health. Our donor community has contributed to numerous recent projects aimed at enhancing quality of life through advancing the means by which kidney health is maintained or improved. 

Researchers utilized donated tissues and fluids to increase the accuracy and provide earlier detection of diseases, which helps the medical community to not only better diagnose, but provide treatments tailored more specifically to an individual patient based on their disease state and/or its progression.

If you are interested in learning more about the kidneys, consider the National Kidney Foundation website.

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