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Taking Care of Your Kidneys cont’d

In my last post, I told you how your kidneys function, what are the risk factors for kidney disease and the common signs of kidney disease. In this article, I want to talk about how you can keep these vital organs healthy. First, you should get tested and when you do, you should know your numbers.

Here are some tests your doctor may do:

1. Blood pressure – high blood pressure can damage small blood vessels. According to the National Kidney Foundation, high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure after diabetes. So what should your numbers be? The National Kidney Foundation says 120/80 is best, 130/80 is okay and 140/90 may be good for some people. Aim for the lowest one.

2. Protein in urine (albuminuria) – this is an early sign of chronic kidney disease (CKD). By the way, excessive bubbles in the urine may indicate the presence of protein. A good number is less than 30 mg of albumin per gram of urinary creatinine.

3. Creatinine in blood – Creatinine is the waste product of muscle activity. Healthy kidneys will filter this out; if kidney function is reduced, your level will rise. A good score is 0.6 to 1.2 deciliter of blood.

4. Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) This is the test doctors use to gauge kidney function. This test is based on your age, race and gender. You want a score of over 90.

Protect your kidneys by:

1. Keeping your blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control. Blood sugar should be under 100.
2. Limiting salt intake
3. Avoiding NSAIDs, a type of painkillers, and never exceeding the recommended dosage.
4. Using protein in moderation. Eat a balanced diet.
5. Exercising regularly. This will not only keep your kidneys healthy, but it will keep your blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels down.
6. Quitting smoking.
7. Drinking alcohol only in moderation.
8. Staying hydrated. Substitute water for sodas and sugary drinks.

As I stated before, many people may already have kidney disease before they experience symptoms, therefore to be safe, see your doctor and ask him to perform these health tests if he hasn’t done so already. Be proactive. Follow the recommendations to protect your kidneys and familiarize yourself with the important numbers given above.

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Until next time,

Stay healthy.