Education

March is National Kidney Month!

One of our free, virtual ‘Survive and Thrive’ classes about chronic kidney disease. Sign up for ​classes at www.pskc.net/classes.

March is National Kidney Month, a time to raise awareness of kidney disease. Learn more about chronic kidney disease — commonly called CKD — and just how vital your kidneys are in making your body function.

What kidneys do

Kidneys filter blood and remove waste. They also control blood pressure, produce red blood cells, balance electrolytes, and help you maintain healthy bones and a normal pH level.

One fifth of the blood pumped by your heart goes to the kidneys, where it is processed and filtered. Excess water, salt, minerals and waste are sent to the bladder as urine and ‘clean’ blood is returned to circulation. It takes just five minutes for all of your blood to be filtered by the kidney which means in 24 hours, your kidneys will filter all of your blood 288 times!

Watch the video below to learn more about these incredible organs.

About chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease happens when your kidneys lose function over time. Although chronic kidney disease is irreversible, it can be slowed. If your kidney function drops to a certain level, dialysis or a kidney transplant is necessary.

The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. Other causes of CKD include inherited diseases, inflammatory diseases and infections.

How to keep your kidneys healthy

1. Keep your salt intake to a minimum. Foods high in salt can put a strain on your kidneys. Try to keep your sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams per day. Avoid high-sodium restaurant meals and processed foods. Instead, make meals at home, with healthy ingredients.

2. Watch your blood pressure. Controlling your blood pressure is the single most important thing you can do to help prolong the life of your kidneys.

3. Stop smoking. Smoking substantially increases your risk for all kidney-related problems, including heart disease.

4. If you have diabetes, control your blood sugars. For more than 40 percent of people with kidney failure, diabetes is the cause. Work with your doctor to help control your blood sugar.

5. Exercise regularly. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and controls your blood pressure. Walking, light weights, yoga, gardening — all of these are great ways to get exercise.

6. Avoid over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. If you have chronic kidney disease, avoid anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, Advil and Motrin. If you do not have chronic kidney disease, use these medications only as needed.

7. Have your kidneys checked on a regular basis. Kidney disease is often silent, showing no symptoms until you approach the need for dialysis or transplantation. Having your kidneys checked on a regular basis can help identify problems earlier.

Learn more ways to keep your kidneys healthy

Interested in learning more about kidney health? Consider taking one of our free classes! Our virtual classes include one-hour free webinars on kidney health eating, exercising and more. Visit www.pskc.net/classes to sign up for one of our upcoming sessions!

Love your kidneys!

Make simple changes for kidney health

February is all about love and this year, it’s time to spread that love to your kidneys. The truth is, they need it! Kidney disease is serious and one in three adult Americans is at risk for it. When your kidneys fail, you need regular dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant to survive. The good news is, there are many things you can do right now to prevent kidney disease from happening. Follow the tips below to spread the love to your kidneys and help keep them healthy.

1. Follow a low-sodium diet. Eating foods high in sodium can increase your blood pressure and make your kidneys (and your heart) work harder. Keep your sodium intake under 2,000 milligrams a day. Avoid fast foods and packaged foods, and limit eating out as restaurant meals can be full of sodium. Cook at home, choose fresh fruits and vegetables to snack on and flavor foods with spices instead of salt. Check out our tasty low-sodium recipes and work with your dietitian or doctor on a complete meal plan.

2. Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure can impact arteries around your heart, making them weak and unable to deliver enough blood to your kidneys. Keep your blood pressure in check to help keep your arteries strong.

3. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help you control blood pressure, lose weight, get stronger and sleep better. It can also greatly improve your mood. Start slowly and work up to 30 minutes a day. Check out more fitness tips and work with your doctor to create an exercise plan that’s right for you.

4. Quit smoking. Smoking can slow the blood flow to your kidneys. If you smoke, work with your doctor on a plan to cut back and work towards quitting altogether. Visit smokefree.gov for tips and more information.

5. Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels in your kidneys. Keep your blood sugar at the level your doctor recommends to prevent kidney damage.

Now’s the time to focus on yourself and your health. Don’t put it off! Follow the tips above for a healthier you and let us know how it’s going – share with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!