Your Checkup

March is National Kidney Month

by Haley Thomas | Mar 22, 2017

Did you know that one in every 10 adults (age 20 or older) has a chronic kidney disorder? That is why the National Kidney Foundation is encouraging all Americans to do their part and give their kidneys some extra attention by getting a well-deserved check-up.

The kidneys filter waste and perform vital functions that control things like red blood cell production and blood pressure. Over time, kidneys can become damaged with little or no physical symptoms to warn you that your kidneys are in trouble.

Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, MD, National Kidney Foundation Chief Medical Officer, stated that of the 26 million American adults estimated to have kidney disease, most of them do not know that they have it. He explained the importance of taking care of your kidneys, especially if you’re at risk for kidney disease.

All Americans can do 5 simple things to protect their kidneys and keep them healthy and strong:

  1. Get tested. Ask your healthcare provider for an ACR urine test or a GFR blood test annually if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, are over the age of 60, or have a family history of kidney failure.
  2. Reduce NSAIDs. Over the counter pain medications, such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), may alleviate your aches and pains, but they can harm the kidneys, especially if you already have kidney disease. Reduce your regular use of NSAIDs and never go over the recommended dose.
  3. Cut the processed foods. Processed foods can be significant sources of sodium, nitrates and phosphates, and have been linked to cancer, heart disease and kidney disease.
  4. Exercise regularly. Your kidneys like it when you exercise. Regular exercise will keep your bones, muscles, blood vessels, heart and kidneys healthy. Getting active for at least 30 minutes a day can also help control blood pressure and lower blood sugar, which is vital to kidney health.
  5. Control blood pressure and diabetes. High blood pressure and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure. Managing high blood pressure and strict control of blood sugar levels can slow the progression of kidney disease. Speak with your doctor if you are having trouble managing diabetes or high blood pressure.

Facts about kidneys:

  • 1 in 3 American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease today.
  • High blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure and being over 60 are major risks factors for developing kidney disease.
  • 1 in 9 American adults has kidney disease—and most don’t know it.
  • Early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease.
  • Kidney disease risk can be reduced by controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, quitting smoking, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding excessive use of pain medications.

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