Healthy kidneys are essential to the overall health of the body. They work around the clock to filter blood, keep fluids in balance, produce hormones that regulate blood pressure, and stimulate red blood cell production. Here’s how to keep kidneys healthy, so these fist-size organs function optimally and you hopefully avoid dialysis.
1. Don’t Smoke or Vape
Smoking is so harmful to so many aspects of your health. So, if you smoke or vape, quit. It’s one of the best ways to boost your overall health. Smoking damages blood vessels which impacts adequate blood flow to the kidneys, limiting their ability to function. It also increases blood pressure and puts you at risk for developing kidney cancer. The nicotine in vaping also constricts blood vessels, raising blood pressure, which is harmful for the body and the kidneys. The kidneys remove toxins from the blood, and there are many toxic chemicals in vaping solutions that cause your kidneys to work overtime.
2. Pay Attention to Over-the-Counter Meds and Supplements
Common over-the-counter pain relievers can negatively impact kidney function, especially when used over a period of time. Talk to your doctor about monitoring your kidney health if you regularly take medications like ibuprofen or naproxen. Some supplements and herbal remedies may impact kidney health, so be sure to talk to your doctor about any supplements or herbal remedies you are considering.
3. To Keep Kidneys Healthy, Choose Nutritious Foods
What we eat goes a long way to maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure. Diabetes and high blood pressure are more common in anyone who is overweight, and this poses a huge risk to the kidneys. Choose quality proteins, and eat plenty of fresh vegetables while avoiding processed and sugary foods.
4. Get Moving
Staying active is good for the body and for the kidneys. Whether it’s a traditional exercise program or finding ways to get moving in your daily life, like walking to the store instead of driving, find ways to move that you enjoy.
5. Drink Water, But Don’t Over Hydrate
Stay hydrated throughout the day. Your body needs water to function optimally, especially for kidney function.
6. Watch Your Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar to Keep Kidneys Healthy
High blood pressure and blood sugar are damaging to the body and the kidneys. Keep track of your blood pressure readings, and share them with your doctor. Most phsyicians check your blood sugar at your yearly office visits or more often if there is an issue. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is essential.
7. Get Tested If You’re at Risk for Kidney Disease
If you’re at high risk, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about testing your kidney function. Some indicators that you may be at increased include:
- A family history of kidney disease or high blood pressure
- High blood pressure
- Age: 60+
- Cardiovascular disease or a family history of it
- Born at a low birth weight
- Kidney damage / trauma
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