Taking Care of Your Kidneys

Your kidneys are fist-sized bean-shaped organs located at the bottom of your rib cage, on both sides of your spine. The kidneys’ job is to filter your blood. They remove waste, control the body’s fluid balance, and help keep the right levels of electrolytes. All of the blood in your body passes through them several times a day. That being said, it’s safe to say the kidneys perform key bodily functions and it’s important to know how to keep them healthy. 

Kidney diseases are silent killers, which can largely affect your quality of life. The three most common types of kidney disease are chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and glomerulonephritis. There are several ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease.

Chronic Kidney Disease is caused by high blood pressure and high blood sugar. The result is that it can increase the pressure on the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys where blood is cleaned. Over time, the increased pressure damages these vessels and kidney function begins to decline.

Kidney stones are caused by minerals and other substances in the blood crystallizing in the kidneys, forming solid masses (stones). There is typically no long-term damage associated with kidney stones but can be extremely painful to pass. 

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the glomeruli. Glomeruli are extremely small structures inside the kidneys that filter the blood. Glomerulonephritis can be caused by infections, drugs, or disorders that occur during or shortly after birth. Glomerulonephritis often gets better on its own.

Like staying generally healthy, the best way to prevent these common kidney problems is quite simple if you incorporate them into your daily routines. 

Stay Active. Regular exercise is a good decision all-around and is also particularly helpful to lowering your risk of chronic kidney disease. Exercise reduces your blood pressure and boosts your heart health, which are both important to preventing kidney damage. 

Control Your Blood Sugar. People with diabetes, or another condition that causes high blood sugar, are more likely to develop kidney problems. However, if you can control your blood sugar, you reduce the risk of kidney disease. Be sure to have a balanced and healthy diet, this will go a long way towards keeping you healthy. 

Monitor Blood Pressure. Needless to say, since kidney disease can be caused by high blood pressure, it is important to stay on top of it. Simple tricks can help keep your blood pressure down like lowering the level of salt, alcohol and caffeine in your diet. Other steps like quitting smoking will help your kidneys as well. 

Stay Hydrated. Regular water intake is good for your kidneys. Water helps clear sodium and toxins from your kidneys. Aiming for one to two liters of water a day will help keep your kidneys clean and working well. 

If you think you may be having kidney problems, be sure to contact your doctor for a check-up to learn more.

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