You probably don’t think about protecting your kidneys from disease or the hard work they do every day. Your kidneys keep the rest of the body in balance. They:
n Remove waste products from the body,
n Balance the body’s fluids,
n Help keep blood pressure under control,
n Keep bones healthy, and
n Help make red blood cells.
Healthy kidneys clean your blood by removing excess fluid, minerals and wastes. They take excess salt and water out of your blood and turn them into urine, helping to regulate blood pressure.
So how can you protect your kidneys?
n Keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible (If you are diabetic, check your blood sugar often, talk to your doctor about a blood test called A1c and work closely with your doctor to keep control of your blood sugar.)
n Keep blood pressure levels as close to normal as possible. (Check your blood pressure as often as your doctor recommends and keep your blood pressure below 130/80 to help prevent kidney damage. If you take blood pressure medication, take it as recommended.)
n Get regular screenings for kidney disease. (A microalbumin test will detect small amounts of protein in the urine; the first sign of kidney disease. Have your blood tested once a year for creatinine.
; when the kidneys are damaged they have trouble removing creatinine from the blood.)
• Follow a healthy eating plan. (Eat fewer high sodium foods; eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. If you already have kidney problems, your dietitian may suggest you cut back on protein.
• Increase physical activity. (Daily exercise helps control blood pressure and helps lower blood sugar.)
• Quit smoking. (Smoking reduces blood flow to the kidneys.)
• Use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, with caution. Regular use can trigger kidney damage; speak to your doctor about these products.
• See a doctor right away for bladder or kidney infections.
For more information contact Patrice Dunagin, Smith County FCS Agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, at 903-590-2980.