Our kidneys perform functions vital to health and well-being. Take care of them. Here’s why & how!
Two bean shaped objects each about the size of a large tomato, occupy space near the abdominal cavity generally described as the flanks. We call them kidneys.
Although the kidneys don’t enjoy the celebrity status of the heart or the brain, they work tirelessly 24/7/365 to cleanse and filter blood, control blood pressure, ensure bone health, promote the manufacture of red blood cells and maintain acid-base balance. Not only are these critical functions, they are essential to health and well-being.
It’s important, therefore, to take good care of them. How do we do that?
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and foods rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- Exercise regularly – at least 30 minutes per session most days each week
- Control blood pressure. High blood pressure damages kidneys. It’s a common causes of kidney failure. Check it regularly and maintain it in the range of 140/80 or less
- Strive to get diabetes under control, if you have it. Your A1c level should never be higher than seven and preferably lower. Diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney failure.
- Stop smoking. Smoking is bad for everything.
- Don’t take any medications prescribed by your health professional without asking, “Doctor, will these hurt my kidneys?” DO NOT TAKE ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Advil, Aleve or Motrin for more than three weeks without consulting your doctor or nurse practitioner
- Drink lots of fluids – at least 2 quarts daily. Abundant fluids optimize overall kidney function
- Reduce stress.
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly.
References: National Kidney Foundation, Prevention, 2017. Online [available at]: https://www.kidney.org/prevention Accessed February 23, 2019.