March marks National Kidney Month, which promotes awareness of kidney disease, honors those affected by the condition, and helps to educate others on methods of prevention. The kidneys are an essential part of the human regulatory system and, much like a pool filtration system removes impurities from the water, our kidneys remove waste and excess fluid from the body. Individuals typically do not concern themselves about these necessary organs until something goes wrong. Currently, more than 26 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease. In order to avoid that outcome, take control now.
Some individuals have a higher risk of contracting chronic kidney disease. Those with a history of diabetes or high blood pressure and are 60 or older are at a higher risk for the condition. Local free health screenings are available to help individuals learn more about their current health status.
Two Tests to Check
- Urine Test: Ask the physician to check the albumin creatinine ratio (ACR) in the analysis. This estimates the levels of albumin, a form of protein, in the urine.
- Blood Test: The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) shows the ability of the kidneys to remove waste products. Monitor levels between 60 and 89. If levels are less than 60 for three months, this is a strong indicator of kidney disease.
Organ donation is a way to help those in need.
Live Better Now
Taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle will benefit one’s quality of life long-term. There are a number of things that can be done to strengthen the body’s natural immune system, to support regulatory functions, and to simply feel better.
Cut Out Smoking
Smoking accounts for 1 out of 5 deaths in the United States. The World Health Organization links smoking to a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and kidney cancer. Smoking interacts with high blood pressure medications used to regulate the condition. High blood pressure is a leading contributor to chronic kidney disease.
Manage Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol dehydrates the body and can impair proper organ function. Those who drink in excess are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. Alcohol also interacts with medications used to control conditions, affects the liver, and places undue burden upon the kidneys.
High-sodium diets lead to a higher risk of high blood pressure. Check out menus online before ordering out to find if they offer reasonable options. Ask for steamed vegetables and grilled proteins. Experiment with spices, herbs and broths to add flavor and nutrients while keeping salt at bay.
Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and natural sources of protein without additives or preservatives. Purchase dried beans for soups, sides and stews. Reduce the levels of pre-made dinners and processed foods.
Even a daily walk improves mobility and burns calories. Exercise also releases endorphins and is a great stress buster. Get going and start smiling.
Today is a great day to start thinking about your kidney health. This March, take these helpful tips and share them with those you love to live a healthier, happier life.