It’s National Kidney Month, a time to raise awareness of kidney disease and how to prevent it. The kidneys are such important organs, filtering your blood, removing waste and helping your body maintain a balanced state. They help you balance electrolytes, maintain a normal pH level, control blood pressure, produce red blood cells, and maintain healthy bones.
High blood pressure and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you need regular dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant to survive.
The good news is, simple lifestyle changes can help prevent kidney disease or slow it down. Here are our top five ways to keep your kidneys healthy:
1. Get tested. Ask your doctor for simple urine and blood tests to check your kidney function. Blood tests will give you your GFR, a number that shows how well your kidneys are working. Work with your doctor to get your kidney function checked on a regular basis.
2. Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure causes damage to your kidneys. Get your blood pressure checked regularly and work with your doctor on ways to control it. This is vital to keeping your kidneys healthy.
3. Manage your blood sugars. Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure. If you have diabetes, control your blood sugars to help prevent your kidney function from declining. Managing blood sugars also helps prevent heart disease and other health problems.
4. Follow a low-sodium diet. Eating a healthy diet can help keep your kidneys healthy. Too much salt in particular can cause damage. Aim for less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium each day. Avoid fast food and restaurant meals, as many are loaded with salt. Try instead to cook at home from scratch using herbs and spices for flavor instead of salt.
5. Exercise regularly. Time to get moving! Exercise can help you control your blood pressure, feel more energetic, and improve your mental health. Work with your doctor to create an exercise plan that works for you. At least 30 minutes of exercise each day is recommended, but keep in mind this can be spread out across the entire day.
Keeping your kidneys healthy, or slowing kidney disease down, can help you avoid or delay the need for dialysis. Work with your doctor on the five tips above to create a health plan that works for you. And make sure to follow us on on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for more tips on how to keep your kidneys healthy!