Be Kind to Your Kidneys
This month is National Kidney Month, and according to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 26 million people in America have kidney disease, although most do not know that they do. Consider the following information about kidneys, and learn how to keep them healthy!
About: The primary functions of kidneys are to regulate and filter. Kidneys filter out drugs and toxins from the bloodstream at a rate of about 200 quarts of blood per day. Kidneys regulate things such as production of red blood cells, body fluids, salt and potassium. Kidneys also produce blood pressure regulating hormones and Vitamin D.
Risks: According to the National Kidney Foundation, “1 in 3 Americans is at risk for kidney disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney failure.” However, most who have kidney disease are not aware that they do. Kidney disease is number 9 on the list of leading causes of death in America. Over 590 thousand Americans have kidney failure, and 95 thousand people are on the waiting list for a new kidney. Chronic Kidney disease may lead to heart problems including cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke, weak bones or nerve damage, high blood pressure or anemia, kidney failure and ultimately, death.
Symptoms: Much of the time, there are no symptoms or warning signs of kidney disease, and it progresses undetected. Reported symptoms do include, however, unusual or painful urine, tiredness, lack of strength, swollen or puffy extremities, face, or abdomen and being more thirsty than usual.
Prevention: Kidney disease can be prevented in many cases although it may also be a genetic predisposition. Like many other diseases, the prevention includes maintaining an overall standard of health with regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, refraining from bad habits such as smoking and drinking, as well as having a regular checkup done.
Source: National Kidney Foundation, kidney.org