Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

KidneyThe kidneys are truly remarkable. Inside these bean-shaped organs, there are millions of tiny blood vessels that filter waste products from the blood. When damage to these blood vessels occurs, from diabetes or high blood pressure for example, this spectacular filtering system breaks down. This failure causes the kidneys to lose their ability to filter out waste products, resulting in kidney disease.

Make sure you know how to keep your kidneys healthy! Here are 10 tips:

  1. Monitor and control blood pressure and cholesterol
  2. Control weight.
  3. Don’t overuse over-the-counter pain killers.
  4. Monitor and control blood glucose.
  5. Get an annual physical exam.
  6. Know if chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes or heart disease runs in your family. If so, you may be at risk.
  7. Don’t smoke.
  8. Exercise regularly.
  9. Follow a healthy diet.
  10. Talk to your doctor about being tested for CKD if you’re at risk.

If you have diabetes, you may already know that kidney disease is a long-term complication of uncontrolled blood sugars. Chronically elevated blood sugars damage blood vessels–and that includes the tiny vessels of the kidneys. That’s one reason it is so important to do what you can to keep blood sugar in the healthy range.

Chronic kidney disease facts:

  • 26 million Americans–one in nine–have chronic kidney disease.
  • More than 376,000 currently depend on dialysis for survival.
  • More than 83,000 are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.
  • Every two hours, one person waiting for a kidney transplant dies.

If you have questions about kidney disease or need help controlling blood sugars to reduce your risk of kidney disease, talk to your doctor or diabetes educator.

Source: National Kidney Foundation, www.kidney.org, 2010.

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