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Kidney Health For All

March 05, 2024

Our kidneys are small and mighty! Each kidney is approximately the size of your fist and they are responsible for essential tasks that keep us healthy.

Your kidneys:

  • Make urine
  • Remove wastes and extra fluid from your blood
  • Control your body's chemical balance
  • Help control your blood pressure
  • Help keep your bones healthy
  • Help you make red blood cells 
What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive loss in kidney function over a period of months or years. Each of your kidneys has about a million tiny filters, called nephrons. If nephrons are damaged, they stop working. For a while, healthy nephrons can take on the extra work. But if the damage continues, more and more nephrons shut down. After a certain point, the nephrons that are left cannot filter your blood well enough to keep you healthy.

When kidney function falls below a certain point, it is called kidney failure. Kidney failure affects your whole body, and can make you feel very ill. Untreated kidney failure can be life-threatening. 

What you should not forget:

  • Early chronic kidney disease has no signs or symptoms.
  • Chronic kidney disease usually does not go away.
  • Kidney disease can be treated. The earlier you know you have it, the better your chances of receiving effective treatment.
  • Blood and urine tests are used to check for kidney disease.
  • Kidney disease can progress to kidney failure. 

What can you do for your kidneys?

Kidney disease are silent killers, which can largely affect your quality of life. There are several ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease. 

Following the “8 Golden Rules for Prevention” can help you keep your kidneys in tip top shape!

  1. Keep fit, be active: this can help to maintain an ideal body weight, reduce your blood pressure and the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease.
  2. Eat a healthy diet: this can help maintain an ideal body weight, reduce your blood pressure, prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease. It's also important to reduce your salt intake. To reduce your salt intake, try and limit the amount of processed and restaurant food and do not add salt to your food. It will be easier to control your salt intake if your prepare the food yourself with fresh ingredients.
  3. Check and control your blood sugar: About half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage; but this can be prevented/limited if the diabetes is well controlled.
  4. Check and control your blood pressure: High blood pressure can damage your kidneys. This is especially likely when associated with other factors like diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases. The risk can be reduced with good control of blood pressure.
  5. Take appropriate fluid intake: The right level of fluid intake for any individual depends on many factors including exercise, climate, health conditions, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Normally this means 8 cups, approximately 2 litres per day for a healthy person in a comfortable climate condition. This needs to be adjusted when in severe climate conditions. Your fluid intake may need to be adjusted if you have kidney or heart or liver disease. Consult your doctor on the appropriate fluid intake for your condition.
  6. Don’t smoke: Smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. When less blood reaches the kidneys, it can decrease their ability to function normally. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50%.
  7. Don’t take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory/pain-killer pills regularly: Common drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS)/pain killer (e.g. drugs like ibuprofen) can harm the kidneys if taken regularly. If you have kidney disease or decreased kidney function, taking just a few doses can do harm to your kidneys. If in doubt, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  8. Get your kidney function checked if you have any ‘high risk’ factors: This factors include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and family history of kidney disease.
Source: www.worldkidneyday.org/about-kidney-health/

Did you know that March is Kidney Health Month and that World Kidney Day will be celebrated on March 14!

Learn more at World Kidney Day