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!