Blog > How to Take Care of Your Kidneys

07 March 2018


Considering the main responsibilities of the kidney (filtering approximately 200 litres of blood daily and generating the hormones behind red blood cell production and calcium absorption), it is easy to understand why these small organs are vital to your overall health and well-being. Organ function naturally starts to decrease as we age although lifestyle choices and genetic factors play an important role in their deterioration. Unfortunately, partly owing to cultural phenomena such as the rise of obesity and binge drinking within the UK, research suggests that up to 60, 000 people in the UK die prematurely due to kidney disease annually and there is no cure. With kidney transplants averaging a 5-year wait, it is essential to take steps to reduce the chances of developing kidney-related illness and these steps are outlined below.

Know your risk
Certain hereditary factors indicate a propensity for kidney problems, with South-Asian and African-Caribbean ethnicities being at most risk together with persons whose family histories involve kidney problems. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are strongly linked to kidney disorders so sufferers of these conditions must take extra care when observing their general health. Kidney disease symptoms include dark, smelly, frothy or blood-spotted urine, swollen ankles and unexplained weight loss. Early detection is extremely advantageous in treating kidney difficulties so contact your doctor if you exhibit one or more of these symptoms.

Eat cleanly
Opting for organic and unprocessed food is the best way to keep your organs healthy. Nourish your body with a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables per day and energise yourself with wholegrain carbohydrates. Follow a low-sodium diet and lower your cholesterol by favouring mono- and polyunsaturated fats over saturated and trans fats.

Drink sensibly
Proper hydration is essential; experts recommend that you drink 1.2 litres of water a day. Milk, leaf teas and moderate amounts of fruit juice are acceptable but keep sugary drinks keep to a minimum. If you drink alcohol, spread your units across the week and do not exceed the maximum consumption guidelines. Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink will also work toward keeping you liver healthy. We have written a guide on how to maintain a healthy liver, and how important your liver is to your body.

Stop smoking
Smoking compromises your overall health and thus impairs kidney performance. Cigarette chemicals alter the composition of your blood and impede its filtration through the kidneys. The risk of smoke-related kidney cancer remains high for up to 10 years after giving up the habit so quit smoking today.

Get moving
Exercise is imperative for good health. Aim to undertake 20 minutes of aerobic activity (i.e. exercise which increases your heart rate) per day and strength training several times a week to condition the kidneys through enhanced blood flow.

Watch your weight
Being overweight places additional strain on your organs. For optimal kidney functioning, make sure you keep within the healthy Body Mass Index range.

Monitor your blood pressure
Poor kidney functioning is associated with high blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend medicine to alleviate this problem but making the aforementioned lifestyle changes will play a significant part in your recovery. Stress can also affect blood pressure levels, so look at ways to reduce tension (e.g. meditation or therapy). Find out more about blood pressure and how it contributes to your overall health.

While it is impossible to predict your future health, by following the advice outlined here you will be taking substantial action to promote kidney health. Just as looking after your heart can help in looking after your kidneys, by adopting a more kidney-friendly lifestyle you will see significant benefits to your entire biological system and psychological health too. 

This article is intended as general information only. If you or a family member have any medical concerns, please contact your GP or medic.

At CS Healthcare, we are committed to protecting the health of our members and we also offer a wide range of health benefits and discount schemes with our member rewards. View our range of products and get a quote today. 

Sources

Kidney Research

NHS

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