The kidneys are important for overall health, and keeping them functioning at their best helps to prevent health problems in the future. One in three people is at risk of kidney disease, which can lead to lifelong problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, nerve damage, and kidney failure. By following these simple steps, you can improve how your kidneys function.
Watch What You Eat
Food choices can affect the health of your kidneys. In order to keep your kidneys functioning well, you should opt for healthy food choices, such as plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. You should avoid processed foods and limit your salt intake to no more than 2000mg per day. A low-salt diet is especially recommended if you have:
- High blood pressure
- Protein in your urine
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling (such as in the face, hands, abdomen, ankles, and feet)
If you have moderate or advanced kidney disease, you should also limit protein intake. Too much protein can put a strain on poorly functioning kidneys.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is endorsed by the National Kidney Foundation. This diet is low in fats and red meats, sodium and added sugars and salt, and is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts, low-fat dairy products, fish, and poultry. It has been found to offer many health benefits including decreasing blood pressure, reducing the risk of kidney stone formation, and lowering the risk for heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Being active and maintaining healthy body weight is important for many reasons, including kidney health. Regular exercise can help to improve the function of the kidneys and prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. Effective types of exercise can include walking, gardening, swimming, bike-riding, playing sports, and doing household chores.
Manage Health Conditions
Kidney disorders cannot always be prevented and factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, age, and a family history of certain diseases can increase your risk of developing kidney problems. If you have a condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it is important to manage your condition effectively to prevent complications, like balancing your medications and keeping your blood sugar under control.
If you have kidney disease, taking good care of yourself can help to slow the progression of the disease and protect your remaining kidney function.
When To See A Doctor
If you are at increased risk of developing kidney disease or have concerns about the health of your kidneys, visit your doctor to have your kidney health checked. There are some simple life-saving tests that can be performed to check the health and function of your kidneys, which can include a:
- Blood pressure check (high blood pressure can damage the kidneys)
- Urine test to check for certain proteins in the urine
- Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) blood test to assess how well the kidneys are filtering the blood
A nephrologist focuses on evaluating and treating both common and complex kidney conditions, including chronic kidney disease, hypertension, kidney stones, glomerulonephritis, electrolyte abnormalities, and end-stage renal disease. They can conduct tests to track changes in kidney function and detect any damage to the kidneys. The main goal is to delay and prevent the progression of kidney disease and reverse it when possible.
Kidney Doctor in Massachusetts
If you are experiencing kidney problems or would like to improve your kidney health, contact Commonwealth Nephrology Associates. We have multiple offices throughout the Massachusetts area to provide expert kidney care for patients with kidney diseases and associated conditions such as hypertension, kidney stones, and electrolyte disorders.
To find out more about our services or to make an appointment, call us at (617) 739-2100, or request an appointment online.