A Complete 6 Step Guide to Protect Your Kidneys for Better Kidney Health

As per data, almost 660,000 Americans suffer from ESRD or end stage renal disease among which 468,000 are receiving dialysis even as we speak.  The big problem with kidney disease is that we often take our kidney like other organs for granted. Our kidneys struggle to function even if they are facing any kind of inflammation and will only display serious symptoms when in later stages of the disease.

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This is why CKD or chronic kidney disease goes undetected till advanced stages simply because we ignore minor symptoms or don’t take care of our health. Only when you are aware of your health and when kidney disease is detected in its early stages can one do something about it. In early, diagnosis of CKD, it can be stopped or slowed down to manageable levels. However, this requires certain protocols such as awareness of your kidney health, timely testing, learning more about kidney disease, the risks and how to prevent them. According to the National Kidney Foundation, here are six steps to protect your kidneys.

1Step 1: Be aware of these very important facts concerning your kidneys

What healthy kidneys do for you?

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A healthy kidney is necessary for filtering toxins and other waste materials from our blood. This is why a kidney a test looks for levels of such elements to determine how your kidneys are working. These are the six important functions of a healthy kidney.

  • Kidneys regulate body fluid levels
  • Waste materials and toxins are filtered from the blood
  • The kidneys regulate blood pressure by releasing a hormone renin
  • Activates Vitamin D for healthy bones
  • Release a hormone erythropoietin that directs production of red blood cells
  • Maintains balanced levels of blood minerals like sodium, phosphorus, potassium
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28 Problems CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) Can Cause

When you suffer from chronic kidney disease, the major symptoms usually appear in the later or end stages of the disease. These are:

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  • High blood pressure
  • Anemia or low red blood cell count
  • Weak bones
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Kidney failure (end-stage renal disease, or ESRD)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Death
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3Step 2 How to assess your risk

There are four main risk factors that can damage your kidneys to the point of chronic kidney disease. These are:

  • Diabetes (self or hereditary)
  • High blood pressure (self or hereditary)
  • Cardiovascular disease (self or hereditary)
  • Family history of kidney disease or diabetes or high blood pressure
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4The 10 Additional Risk Factors are

Besides the four major risk factors mentioned above, there are 10 more additional risk factors that can harm your kidneys. These are:

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  • African-American heritage
  • Native American heritage
  • Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander heritage
  • Age 60 or older
  • Obesity
  • Low birth weight
  • Prolonged use of NSAIDs, (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs) which are painkillers like naproxen and ibuprofen.
  • Autoimmune disorders like lupus
  • Chronic urinary tract infections
  • Kidney stones
Image Source: www.cdc.gov

5Step 3: How to recognize symptoms of kidney disease

In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, there are usually no symptoms because your kidneys are always fighting to function till they cannot anymore. This is why regular testing of kidneys is crucial to detecting anything wrong with the kidneys. The possible trouble signs to look out for are:

  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Painful urination
  • Difficulty in passing urine
  • Foamy urine
  • Pink, dark urine (blood in urine)
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased need to urinate especially at night
  • Puffy eyes
  • Swollen face, hands, abdomen, ankles, feet due to fluid retention
Image Source: www.verywellhealth.com
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