March is National Kidney Month, an annual opportunity to raise awareness of kidney disease and promote healthy kidney function. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is often referred to as a “silent disease” because it rarely presents any symptoms during the early stages. As many as 90% of Americans who have CKD are unaware they have the disease until it has reached an advanced stage. The earlier you find out you have kidney disease, the sooner you can take steps to protect your kidneys from further damage. Freedom Home Care is here to help with chronic disease management.
Preventing or managing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, which cause kidney damage, is the most effective way to protect your kidneys. You are more likely to develop kidney disease if you have a family history of kidney failure or suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. Schedule regular medical check-ups with your healthcare provider to get tested for kidney disease. If you develop a urinary tract infection (UTI), which can cause kidney damage if left untreated, see your healthcare provider immediately.
Preventing Kidney Disease
- Making healthy lifestyle choices can go a long way towards keeping your kidneys healthy. It’s essential to make healthy food choices that are good for your heart and your entire body, including fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Cut back on salt and added sugars and aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. Gradually work your way down from whole milk to 2 percent milk until you’re drinking and cooking with fat-free (skim) or low-fat milk and milk products.
- Physical activity is an important part of maintaining good kidney health. Try to be active for 30 minutes or more on most days. If you are not active, consult your healthcare provider about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you. Managing your weight is also important. The NIH Body Weight Planner is an online tool to help you tailor your calorie and physical activity plans to achieve and stay at a healthy weight.
- Get enough sleep and manage stress by practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or tai chi.
- If you smoke or use other tobacco products, try to quit.
- Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure and add extra calories, which can lead to weight gain. Limit yourself to one drink per day if you are a woman and two drinks per day if you are a man.
Kidney Disease is Preventable
Kidney disease is a serious condition, but it can be preventable if you take the necessary precautions. National Kidney Month is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of kidney disease and promote healthy kidney function. Schedule regular medical check-ups, make healthy lifestyle choices, and manage existing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease to protect your kidneys. If you are at high risk of developing kidney disease, talk to your healthcare provider about developing a plan to protect your kidneys. With the right care and precautions, you can maintain good kidney health and continue to do the things you love.