Approximately 30% of American adults are at risk of developing kidney disease, and it is estimated that 37 million Americans already have it but do not know they have it. Your kidneys perform many important functions in flushing out your system, so keeping them healthy and in good working order is paramount to your overall good health.
Let’s go over some key medical advice from a kidney doctor who can help you maintain healthy kidneys for a healthy body.
What Do the Kidneys Do?
Most people are born with two kidneys, which are located on either side of the spine just below the rib cage. They are each about the size of an adult fist, and they perform many complex functions that are vital to keeping the rest of the body in balance.
Their main functions include:
- Removing waste and excess fluid
- Filtering the blood to keep certain compounds in the body while removing others
- Controlling the production of red blood cells
- Regulating blood pressure, red blood cells, and certain nutrients in the body such as calcium and potassium
- Converting vitamin D into a useful nutrient for the body
Tips for Healthy Kidneys
If an individual develops kidney disease, they are much more likely to develop heart disease and vascular disease. Maintaining kidney health is essential to overall health and well-being, and it ensures that the body is able to function and perform properly.
The following recommendations will help you maintain healthy kidneys:
Watch What You Eat
A healthy diet and a healthy weight can help to reduce your risk of kidney damage. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing health conditions that can lead to kidney damage, such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
To keep your kidneys healthy, it is best to reduce your consumption of foods that are high in saturated fats, sodium, and cholesterol, and to avoid processed foods which often contain high levels of salt, sugar, and fat. A diet containing too much animal protein (such as red meat, eggs, and poultry) and sodium also increases your chances of kidney stones by raising the level of uric acid and reducing the level of citrate in the urine, which thus becomes out of balance.
Fresh ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and food that is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., salmon, tuna, seeds, and walnuts) can benefit the kidneys and your overall health.
Regular exercise not only helps to prevent weight gain, but it can also lower your risk of chronic kidney disease. Exercise improves both muscle and renal function, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improves heart health – all helping to prevent kidney damage.
Exercise such as walking, running, cycling, dancing, and swimming are considered the most beneficial types of exercise for those who are at risk of kidney disease, as they involve steady, whole-body movements. That said, any form of exercise is good for your overall well-being, and choosing an activity you enjoy is more likely to make you keep at it!
Regular and consistent water intake is very important for the overall health of the kidneys and can lower the risk of kidney disease. Water can help to get rid of sodium and toxins from the kidneys as well as to keep the urine diluted, which can stop waste products from getting too concentrated and forming kidney stones. Whenever you’re the slightest bit thirsty, take a drink of water at the temperature you prefer.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
People with diabetes, or any condition that can cause high blood sugar levels, are more likely to develop kidney problems and kidney damage. This is because the body’s cells are unable to easily process the glucose in the blood, so the kidneys are forced to work harder in order to filter the blood fully. By controlling your sugar levels, you can reduce your risk of damage to the kidneys.
Smoking damages the body’s blood vessels and causes them to harden, which leads to slower blood flow to the kidneys and can therefore cause kidney damage. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer.
Comprehensive Kidney Care in Boston
If you’re looking for high-quality comprehensive kidney care in the Boston area, visit our experienced medical team at Commonwealth Nephrology Associates. Our nephrologists are committed to providing expert care and can treat both common and complex kidney conditions.
For more information about the services we provide, or to make an appointment, call us today at (617) 739-2100 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you stay healthy!