8 Golden Rules of Healthy Kidneys

This National Organ Donor Awareness Week is the perfect time to start following the 8 golden rules for healthy kidneys.

1. Keep active and fit

Committing yourself to regular exercise is key to maintaining fitness. Moderate daily exercise helps to keep your blood pressure under control and also can help you to lose any excess weight.

Maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk of developing chronic kidney disease. However, be mindful not to over-exert yourself as this can put pressure on your kidneys. It is important to be conscious of this, especially if have multiple risk factors.

2. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids

The standard advice is to drink 1.5-2 litres of water daily. The reason this is so important in the context of healthy kidneys is because water helps your kidneys to eliminate waste from your blood in the form of urine. This, in turn, also helps to maintain your body temperature.

Furthermore, this process keeps your blood vessels open, allowing blood to travel with ease to your kidneys and deliver essential nutrients.

Water also flushes out any infection and any stone-forming crystals that may be present.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you typically need more fluid than others your age.

If you have a history of kidney stones, drinking 2-3 litres of water per day lowers the risk of developing a new kidney stone.

3. Eat a healthy diet and check your weight regularly

Most kidney diseases stem from other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Both of these conditions have a direct connection to your eating habits. The best way to address them is to maintain a healthy diet.

Reducing your salt intake can help to prevent diabetes as well as heart diseases, which are associated with Chronic Kidney Disease.

4. Monitor your blood pressure

As we have mentioned, high blood pressure is a major reason for strokes and heart attacks. However, many people do not realise that it also leads to kidney diseases.

Normal blood pressure is from 120/80 to 139/89. Though, at this level, you do need to make dietary changes.

If your blood pressure is above 140/90, you should seek medical advice. You must monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis. Doing so will help you avoid damaging your kidneys, among other issues. 

Call in to your local CarePlus Pharmacy for a free blood pressure measurement today.

5. Stop Smoking

Smoking tobacco damages your blood vessels. This causes decreased blood flow to the kidneys.

Insufficient blood flow to the kidneys results in reduced kidney function. It also increases your risk of both high blood pressure and certain cancers of the kidney.

6. Keep your blood sugar levels under control

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels and diabetes increase the risk of kidney damage. Most of the time, kidney problems can be prevented if they are detected early.

7. Try not to take over-the-counter medications regularly

Some non-prescription medicines can cause kidney damage if you take them for a prolonged amount of time. One such medication is ibuprofen.

If you have arthritis or another form of chronic pain, consult your doctor before taking over-the-counter painkillers. Your GP can prescribe the best course of treatment for managing your pain that won't put your kidneys at risk.

8. Get Your Kidneys Screened Regularly

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes or excess weight, your doctor will check for any kidney dysfunction as part of your routine care.

In addition to the risks listed above, your risks are higher if you have parents or other family members who have kidney disease.

 

*Information adapted from the HSE website and the Save Rite Medical website.

 www.hse.ie



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