Kidneys are vital to everyday health, filtering excess water and waste products out of your blood as your body uses the food eaten to produce energy. Reduced kidney function puts that filtration process at risk, leaving potentially harmful levels of waste products in your body, and resulting in lowered levels of kidney-produced hormones and vitamin D. Worse yet, reduced kidney function can lead to chronic kidney disease.
About 14% of the population experiences chronic kidney disease, resulting from continual kidney function changes or abnormalities. Eventually, chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure and necessitate the use of a dialysis machine or even a transplant. How can you maintain or even improve your body's kidney function? This list will suggest several tips.
1. Maintain a healthy weight.
The heavier your body weight, the greater the risk of high blood pressure. Increased blood pressure forces kidneys to work harder and is the most common source of kidney damage. Blood pressure above 140/90 is hypertensive, and anyone at that level needs to discuss steps toward reduction with their doctor. High blood pressure also particularly affects the kidneys when associated with heart disease and high cholesterol.
A diet moderate in fats, sugars, and sodium can help maintain healthy kidneys. In addition, strive to get at least 30 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise on a daily basis. Keeping fit helps to reduce your overall body weight. This in turn aids in the maintenance of a healthy blood pressure much closer to the normal 120/80.
2. Drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated improves kidney function by helping the kidneys flush toxins such as sodium, urea, and others, from the body, lowering your risk of kidney problems turning into chronic kidney disease. Currently, there is not a uniform recommendation regarding the amount of water you should be drinking daily, but studies have shown that an effort to drink 3 to 4 pints of water throughout the day has had a positive effect on kidney function. Speak with your health professional regarding the right approach to hydration for you.
3. Limit consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
Since both alcohol and smoking increase blood pressure, doctors suggest limiting alcohol intake and cutting out smoking altogether. Smoking also slows blood flow to the kidneys specifically, reducing their ability to function. Doctors recommend no more than 14 drinks weekly, but stress that significantly fewer may have additional benefits to your kidney function.
4. Monitor blood sugar.
As many as half of all people with diabetes will develop kidney damage. It is crucial to monitor your blood sugar levels if you are a diabetic. In addition, diabetics should undergo regular testing to monitor their kidney function levels and track any sudden or gradual changes in the data. In addition to diabetics, doctors recommend regular kidney function tests of the following groups: those with hypertension, the obese, those of African, Asian, or Aboriginal descent, and those with a family history of diabetes or kidney disease.
5. Consider gene therapy.
Studies have proven certain gene expressions including the Klotho protein aid in improving kidney function. Specifically, Klotho can assist in reducing fibrosis, a result of kidney injury from renal disease. Fibrosis can cause further decreases in kidney function, so its treatment through gene therapy represents a promising avenue in maintaining healthy kidney function.
Kidney disease is a “silent killer”, making it all the more important to stay vigilant when it comes to promoting kidney health. Attention to these 5 strategies for improving your kidney function is an excellent first step toward both kidney and overall body health.