The Science Behind Kidney Disease Prevention

The Science Behind Kidney Disease Prevention

July 22, 2016

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for developing kidney disease, but many are not aware. Kidney damage can go unnoticed for years until chronic symptoms arise. Typically, kidney disease and damage is caused by commonly occurring health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.

Kidney disease is a top leading cause of death in the United States, affecting nearly 26 Million Americans, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Advanced stage kidney disease may lead to kidney dialysis, an artificial method of cleansing the blood of impurities and waste, made possible by a dialysis machine.

How do kidneys function?

Kidneys are fist-sized organs located on either side of the abdomen providing the human body with a unique filtration process to purify blood, and remove waste. Proper kidney functionality is imperative to good health, mobility and longevity.

Kidneys serve many purposes:

  • Regulate blood pressure by releasing a hormone
  • Remove toxins from the body
  • Ensure blood mineral balance
  • Regulate fluids in the body and prevent excess
  • Filter blood and create red blood cells
  • Maintain vitamin B balance for health bones

What is Nephrology?

Nephrology deals with the care and treatment of kidneys. Nephrologists are internal medicine doctors who work with patients to monitor kidney health and improve or treat functionality.

Nephrologists perform blood and urine lab analyses to determine a patient’s overall health. They monitor blood pressure and check for certain minerals in a patient’s urine stream to determine any strain on the kidneys.

What causes kidney disease?

Kidney damage is often triggered by overlooked or undiagnosed high blood pressure. As pressure increases, the kidneys are forced to work harder and over time, the organs become less efficient at cleansing the body.

Diabetes is another leading cause of kidney damage. According to Healthline, “The increased level of sugar in the blood damages the blood vessels in the kidneys over time. This means the kidneys can’t clean the blood properly. Kidney failure can occur when your body becomes overloaded with toxins.”

How can kidney functionality be improved?

The good news about kidney damage is that a little bit of prevention can go a long way. A healthy diet and hydration are your kidneys best friends.

  1. Stay hydrated.

Are you getting the recommended 75-150 ounces per day of water? The chances are high that you’re not. Don’t worry, though. This is an easy habit to change. Grab a large water jug at the beginning of the day and instead of reaching for sugary sodas or coffees, grab some cold H2O!

  1. Get some sunshine!

You’d never know that sunshine improves kidney functionality, but it actually reduces pressure on your kidneys. Slather on the sunshine and head outside for some sunny rays – your kidneys will thank you!

  1. Burn some calories!

Keeping your weight down will help moderate the amount of effort required by your kidneys to cleanse your blood. Find a weekly workout schedule that works with your priorities. Everyone has a few hours per week to devote to upkeep of his or her body – it’s the only one you have, after all!

  1. Eat clean.

Whether you’re cold pressing juice or stopping by the farmer’s market, grab some fresh fruits and veggies – and enjoy! Your body will respond well to the vitamins and a change in your diet can have a significant impact on your energy levels!

  1. Ditch the salt.

It’s amazing how much salt is in virtually every table condiment, boxed frozen food, or soup you find at a grocery store. Excessive salt consumption not only causes bloating, but it’s harder on your body. Start paying attention to your salt usage, and give your kidneys a rest!