February 17, 2014 – We all lose a little of our kidney function as we get older. People can even survive with just one kidney if they donate the other to a friend or family member.
But when kidney function drops because of an underlying kidney disease, it’s something to be concerned about. Toxins and extra water can build up in your blood. Falling hormone production can cause other problems. About 1 in 10 adults nationwide, or about 20 million people, have at least some signs of kidney damage.
There are different types of kidney disease. Most strike both kidneys at the same time, harming the tiny filters—called nephrons—and reducing their filtering ability. When damage to nephrons happens quickly, often because of injury or poisoning, it’s known as acute kidney injury. It’s more common, though, for nephrons to worsen slowly and silently for years or even decades. This is known as chronic kidney disease
Tips to help keep your kidneys healthy:
- Keep your blood pressure at the target set by your health care provider. This can delay or prevent kidney failure.
- If you have diabetes, control your blood glucose level.
- Keep your cholesterol levels in the target range.
- Take medicines the way your provider tells you to. (Important! Certain blood pressure medicines called ACE inhibitors and ARBs may protect your kidneys. Ask your health care provider for more information.)
- Cut back on salt and protein. Aim for less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day.
- Choose foods that are healthy for your heart: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and to reduce fats, choose lean meats and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Be more physically active.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- If you smoke, take steps to quit. Cigarette smoking can make kidney damage worse.
This article is submitted by Gabriela Polanco, Community Relations Coordinator for the Maryland Lutheran Home Care & Hospice, Inc. Join her for her next Wellness Talk at Carroll Lutheran Village on March 12, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. in the Garden Terrace to learn more about kidney health.