March is National Kidney Month and today, March 12, is World Kidney Day. It’s a good time to stop and reflect on the importance of our kidneys to our overall health.
A message from Northwest Kidney Centers president and CEO, Joyce F. Jackson:
Did you know? Your kidneys are fist-sized organs that keep your body in balance. Your kidneys:
- Make urine
- Remove wastes and extra fluid from your blood
- Control your body’s chemical balance
- Help control your blood pressure
- Help keep your bones healthy
- Help you make red blood cells
Learn more about why your kidneys are so important from Kidney Research Institute investigator Dr. Raj Mehrotra:
More than 10 percent of American adults have chronic kidney disease, and most don’t know it. That’s because there may be few signs or symptoms until your kidneys are seriously damaged. If you have it, you can slow it down and keep it from resulting in kidney failure. There are ways to prevent kidney disease as well.
Here are some tips to take care of your kidneys:
- If you are at risk for kidney disease, talk with your doctor and get tested.
- Monitor your blood pressure. If it’s higher than 140/90, talk with your doctor about how to treat it.
- Watch your blood sugar. About half of diabetes patients end up with kidney disease. Also manage your cholesterol.
- Improve your diet. In particular, cut back on processed and restaurant foods. They are full of salt, an enemy of healthy kidneys. Find great recipes here.
- Be cautious with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen. Large doses over a long time can damage the kidneys.
- Keep active to stay fit and manage your weight. Lifestyle changes can keep you healthy and, if you have kidney damage, good health habits can keep it from getting worse.
Learn more about kidney disease and risk factors from Kidney Research Institute investigator Dr. Maryam Afkarian:
Kidney Research Institute investigator Dr. Yoshio Hall talks about what can be done to prevent and slow kidney disease: