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Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy

Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy

Healthy kidneys are essential to overall health and well-being. The minute either one of your kidneys is struggling, the entire rest of your body struggles too. This is why healthy kidneys are so important.

March is Kidney Month, so take a little time to be grateful for your hard-working kidneys, and commit to keeping them healthy.

What Do Kidneys Do All Day, Anyway?

Sitting just against the back muscles in the lower-portion of your abdominal cavity, the kidneys do more than just “eliminate waste products through the urine.”

They also:

  • Remove medications and drugs from the body
  • Balance fluid levels
  • Release the hormones regulating blood pressure
  • Control red blood cell production
  • Produce an active form of vitamin D to support strong, healthy bones
  • Control calcium metabolism

In other words, when the kidneys aren’t healthy, they can’t do their job  - and the rest of your body suffers.

5 Steps to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

Here are five simple steps you can take each day to keep your kidneys healthy, especially important for those with a family history of kidney disease.

1) Drink water and keep hydrated

Kidneys work best when your body is hydrated, allowing them to balance your body’s fluid levels while still having enough liquid to flush out toxins. Keep hydrated (drinking about an ounce of water, per pound of body weight, per day) and remember to drink more when it’s hot, you’re sweating more than usual or when you’re exercising.

2) Practice healthy eating habits

Just like the rest of your body, kidneys prefer foods that are nutrient-rich, and would rather you avoid foods that are processed and/or contain preservatives and additives. The more chemicals, additives, food dyes and preservatives a food contains, the harder kidneys work to them from your body.

Also, type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, so eating well and managing your weight can prevent both type 2 diabetes and kidney disease.

3) Maintain healthy blood pressure (BP)

High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney disease so maintaining health blood pressure levels goes a long way in promoting kidney health.

Ideal blood pressure for adults between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. Get yours checked regularly (many pharmacies have a free, sit-down booth that check BP for you). Since the kidneys are responsible for producing some of the hormones that regulate blood pressure, maintaining a healthy BP on your end means less work for the kidneys.

4) Keep your figure on the “slimmer” side

Excess weight raises blood pressure, and that taxes your kidneys. The simple act of maintaining a healthy BMI does wonders for the kidneys over time. In addition to eating well, make it a point to exercise and observe other important habits that promote a healthy weight and lifestyle.

5) Don’t smoke and drink alcohol in moderation

First, smoking and alcohol introduce unhealthy toxins to your body, and your kidneys play a large role in filtering and eliminating them. Secondly, both smoking and drinking alcohol raise your blood pressure – and, as you’ve learned, high blood pressure is the kidneys’ enemy.

Palouse Specialty Physicians wishes you a healthy and well-lived life – and that requires a healthy pair of kidneys. Happy Kidney Month!

image: aswer/pixabay.com

Published on March 20, 2018

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