Today is World Kidney Day, and we think it's important to talk about it. Be honest, how often do you contemplate the state of your kidneys? Many of us give our hearts a bit of consideration, for example, but forget to include the more obscure organs in our thoughts. But not this year – in honour of World Kidney Day, we've put together some tips for maintaining good kidney health.
Keeping fit helps with most of your bodily functions and the same is true for your kidneys. Staying fit helps to reduce blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of chronic kidney disease. Get down the gym or just go for a walk and there'll be a difference if you keep it up.
Around 50% of people with diabetes develop kidney damage over time so it's vital that, if you have the condition, you regularly check kidney function. This damage can be reduced or prevented if detected early on and doctors or pharmacists can help you to find ways to control your blood sugar levels.
You probably know that high blood pressure can lead to strokes or heart attacks; you may not have known though that it's also the most common contributor to damaged kidneys. 120/80 is considered to be a normal blood pressure and, once you rise above this level, it is important that you begin trying to normalise it. As mentioned, the risks associated with high blood pressure are heightened if combined with a condition like diabetes.
Eating well, like exercising, contributes to the health of every bodily function. But taking certain steps in particular, like reducing your salt intake, can play a vital part in reducing your kidney damage risks. There are hundreds of resources available to find out about diets and recipes that can help or contribute to good kidney health, so get out there and be creative with your food.
Smoking is essentially as bad for you as diet and exercise is good. Connected to a whole host of conditions, smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body. Giving up can restore healthy blood flow to the kidneys and reduce the risk of kidney cancer.
Kidney disease is more likely to affect certain people, so make sure you're careful and get checked regularly if you have diabetes or hypertension, if you are obese, of African, Asian or Aboriginal origin, or if there is a history of kidney disease in your family. In any case, follow our guidelines to stay as healthy as you can – you might not think about it often, but it's important to look after every part of your body, including your kidneys.