March marks National Kidney Month. Kidney disease affects at least 50% of senior citizens over the age of 75. Kidney disease kills more people every year than breast or prostate cancer.
Many people miss the signs of kidney disease until it is too late. They do not receive annual kidney screenings and may ignore the basic symptoms, such as protein in the urine. Instead, they slowly allow their kidneys to deteriorate until it is almost too late.
During National Kidney Month, take the time to learn about kidney disease, what it is, how to spot it, and what you can do to prevent it and keep your kidneys healthy. Learning about kidneys, their function, and recognizing kidney disease can be the difference between life or death.
What do Your Kidneys do for Your Body?
Your kidneys are an essential part of your body’s overall health and are vital pieces of your body’s waste management system. Many times, your body will function with only one of the two kidneys. However, if both kidneys fail, your body will begin to shut down.
The critical functions of the kidneys include:
⦁ Remove extra fluid and waster from your body
⦁ Control blood pressure
⦁ Produce red blood cells
⦁ Maintain bone health
⦁ Control your body’s pH levels
Your kidneys are among the hardest working organs in your body. They efficiently pump at least 30 gallons of blood per day, filter out what the body no longer needs, and maintain the nutrients and byproducts required to maintain overall health.
How do you Keep Your Kidneys Healthy as Your Body Ages?
Kidney disease is preventable in many situations. First, eating healthy and drinking plenty of water are essential activities for maintaining kidney disease.
Many people with diabetes and high blood pressure can develop kidney disease if they allow these issues to remain unchecked. Some of the best ways to keep your kidneys healthy as you age include:
⦁ Drink a gallon of water a day
⦁ Avoid salt whenever possible
⦁ Eat a colorful diet with plenty of vegetables
⦁ Avoid oil-fried and deep-fried foods
⦁ Get plenty of exercise, such as walking and other cardio activities
⦁ Get at least 8 hours of sleep a day
The healthier lifestyle you maintain, the healthier your kidneys will be. Make sure you take care of your body with plenty of healthy food, water, sleep, and exercise. Your kidneys will thank you for your efforts.
How can you Recognize Kidney Issues?
Kidney issues can show themselves in several ways. If you pay attention to your body and receive an annual exam with your doctor, you may be able to catch the onset of kidney disease. If you catch it early enough, you may be able to stop it from causing too much damage.
Some signs of kidney issues and disease may include the following:
⦁ Reduced urination
⦁ Retaining fluid resulting in swelling of extremities, such as hands, ankles, feet, etc.
⦁ Shortness of breath
⦁ Increased exhaustion
⦁ Chest pain or pressure
⦁ Increased and unexplained confusion
⦁ Kidney pain during urination or other activities
⦁ Kidney stones
In more severe kidney disease cases, you may notice seizures or even slip into a coma.
At first sight of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. The sooner you get in front of kidney disease, the more you can control it and prevent kidney failure.
Kidney disease can destroy your quality of life if left unchecked. While many people function with only one kidney, it is less than ideal. It is best to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible to maintain your kidney health as you age.
If you begin to experience any signs of kidney disease, you should immediately contact your doctor. Kidney disease can lead to deterioration in your entire system and eventually death. Learn more about kidney health during National Kidney Month and stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.