It is possible to live a normal life with only one kidney, but why would you want to go down that road when it’s much easier to keep both of your kidneys healthy?
Here are simple self-care strategies you can employ to help ensure the optimal health and function of your kidneys.
Keeping Yourself Adequately Hydrated
While the kidneys of a healthy adult are capable of flushing out up to 28 liters of water every day, they can only excrete up to a liter every hour. It, therefore, makes it difficult for your kidneys to keep up if you drink more than a liter per hour.
Experts recommend that you adjust your total fluid intake based on a number of factors, including the following:
- Level of physical activity – The more strenuous the physical activity you engage in, the more water you should drink to prevent dehydration.
- Environment- A hot or humid weather requires more fluid intake.
- Overall health-Increase your water intake if you have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. Your doctor will also likely recommend it if you have a bladder infection or kidney stones.
Eating a Healthy Diet
Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is central to maintaining a healthy weight, and consequently, keeping your kidneys in tip-top condition. Excess weight can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD) by putting you at risk for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart problems.
Load up on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, healthy protein sources, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids; and avoid ultra-processed foods as well as too much salt, sugar, and saturated fat.
Regular exercise is an inextricable part of any (kidney) health regimen. Exercising at least three days a week helps maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improves muscle function, and enables you to sleep better— all of which are crucial for ensuring proper kidney function.
Moderate-intensity exercise such as walking, cycling, or swimming, which involves steady, whole-body movements, are the best types of exercise for kidney health.
Quitting Smoking and Limiting Alcohol Intake
People who smoke, drink, or both smoke and drink are at an increased risk of developing kidney disease. Studies show that smokers who are also heavy drinkers are roughly five times more likely to develop CKD than those who don’t smoke or drink alcohol excessively.
Limit your alcohol intake to only:
- a maximum of one alcoholic drink per day, if you’re a woman; or
- a maximum of two alcoholic drinks per day; if you’re a man.
Using Pain Medications Only as Prescribed
Frequently taking or misusing pain medications— specifically nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen— can damage your kidneys.
If you’re living with chronic pain, talk to your doctor about which medications are safe and take them only as prescribed.
Kidney Doctor in Greater Boston, MA
If you are concerned about your kidney health, or you have risk factors for kidney disease and you want to take proactive steps, visit us here at Commonwealth Nephrology Associates. Our board-certified kidney doctors are committed to not only providing high-quality medical treatment. As proponents of preventative health care, we gladly provide our patients with useful information to guide them along the path to optimal renal health.
To see one of our kidney doctors, call our office at (617) 739-2100, or alternatively, you can request an appointment online. Our main offices are located in Natick and Norfolk, and satellite offices in Attleboro, Dorchester, Marlborough, South Weymouth, and Westwood.