Like every other year, the start of January has us making resolutions to finally start a new workout regime, or to work towards career goals we set for ourselves, and so on. But what about the smaller things we need to keep in check, like our kidneys?
Maintaining kidney health is as important as taking care of other organs in the body. Optimum kidney health ensures that the body can filter waste properly and produce hormones that ensure its smooth functioning. This year let your New Year’s resolution focus on kidney care. Follow these tips to help keep your kidneys healthy:
• Follow the golden rule of hydration: We all know drinking water is essential to good health, but drinking too much water can be just as problematic as drinking too little, especially if you have kidney failure. Don’t worry so much about the eight glasses a day prescription and focus on drinking enough so your urine is light yellow or colourless.
• Eat for better (kidney) health: Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease, so choosing healthy, low-sodium, low-cholesterol foods that help control these conditions are also good choices for your kidneys.
• Keep fit: Exercise also helps keep kidney disease risk factors in check. A regular exercise routine will help you maintain healthy weight; prevent diabetes and heart disease and control blood pressure and cholesterol. Your kidneys will thank you for every drop of sweat, and so will the rest of your body. (Just don’t forget the golden rule!)
• Be a filter for your kidneys, and they will return the favour: Kidneys are responsible for removing harmful substances from the blood, including smoke and alcohol, so give them a break and cut back on the bad stuff. They also filter prescription and over-the-counter medicines, so never take more than what is prescribed and avoid medicines you don’t need.
• Consider your personal kidney profile: It may not be you; it may be your kidneys. Some people are more prone to kidney disease, and they need to be more diligent when it comes to care. We know diabetes and high blood pressure are the biggest red flags, but there are many other factors to consider – heart disease, obesity and smoking also top the list, along with age and family history.
• Schedule a kidney check-up: Kidney disease is known as the “silent killer” because patients can lose 90 percent of kidney function before symptoms appear. The best defense is sometimes a great offense, and if you’re one of the 26 million who unknowingly suffer from kidney disease, early intervention may just save your life.
Remember to get your kidney checked if you suffer from diabetes, hypertension, and obesity or if you have a history of chronic kidney diseases.