Your two kidneys – the renal organs – are the master chemists of the body. They monitor the quality of the blood, separating out harmful substances from beneficial ones, acting not only as waste disposal units but also like sophisticated sieves that retrieve useful substances that slip through the holes. The kidneys maintain the internal environment essential for life – whatever the diet or the climate. Although we tend to take our kidneys for granted, these important organs deserve a little consideration now and then. Often, we don’t pay much attention to them until there is a problem. When a kidney malfunctions, you will definitely know it. We’ve all heard tales of excruciating kidney stones or a painful kidney infection, which, if left untreated, can turn into sepsis that pervades the body and cause substantial harm.
To keep your kidneys functioning as they should, include a few management tips in your health routine. It won’t take much time or effort to add these tips to your lifestyle, and the payoff may help to keep you off dialysis in preventing kidney failure later in life. Kidney disease is a growing problem in the United States. It is a problem that affects adults of all ages and races. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family member with kidney failure are more likely to develop kidney disease. African Americans with any of these risk factors have an even greater chance of developing this disease. Healthy kidneys filter your blood. They remove waste and extra water. They help control the amount of certain chemicals in your blood like sodium, phosphorus, and potassium. The right balance of these chemicals helps your body work well. Healthy kidneys help keep this balance.
As with all aspects of keeping fit, the basic rule is to be kind to your body – maintain a sensible, balanced diet and do not smoke, take drugs or drink too much alcohol.
Drink one and a half to two litres of water a day and drink only moderate amounts of tea, coffee and cola because they contain caffeine. This, like alcohol, is a diuretic – which means that it dehydrates the body.
Stick to a diet high in carbohydrates and low in protein (the main source of waste products) as this reduces the kidneys’ workload.
If you have high blood pressure, follow good lifestyle advice about weight, exercise and stress, take prescribed medication and have your blood pressure checked regularly. Uncontrolled hypertension can speed up the natural course of any underlying kidney disease. If you have diabetes, make sure that your blood sugar is kept under control.
Like the rest of our amazing body, the kidneys are designed to last a life-time. They do a wonderful job of maintaining our internal environment and should continue to do so as long as we look after them by drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced healthy diet.