Kidney Health For All

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi


The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that serve various functions in the human body. The kidneys:

·         Produce hormones.

·         Excrete wastes such as urea and ammonium, producing urine.

·         Reabsorb water, amino acids and glucose.

·         Maintain acid-base balance.

·         Regulate blood pressure by maintaining salt and water balance.

Diseases that affect the kidney are silent killers that could affect the quality of life. They include: cancer, cysts, stones and infections. Chronic kidney diseases affect the nephrons (basic functional unit of the kidney) and could gradually damage the kidneys leading to kidney failure. Until the kidney gets damaged, no symptoms are observed at an early stage. Therefore, an early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression to kidney damage. Steps such as the following can help preserve kidney health.

·         Smoking slows down the flow of blood to the kidneys. It also increases the risk of kidney cancer. Limit your alcohol intake.

·         Fitness helps to keep the blood pressure at a normal level. Remain active.

·         Excess blood sugar strains the kidneys and damages its filters. Control your blood sugar level.

·         Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause arteries around the kidneys to harden or weaken and this affects blood supply to the kidneys.

·         Maintain a good body mass index. Keep your weight in check. Eat healthy foods.

·         Recommended daily allowance for sodium is 5-6g. Reduce salt intake. Reduce consumption of processed and canned foods.

·         Water helps the kidneys perform it function with ease. Reduce soda, artificial sweeteners and sugar intake, increase water intake.

·         High blood pressure, diabetes and a relative with kidney problem are risk factors. A urine or blood test will tell your kidney status.

·         Continued consumption of diet high in animal protein can worsen kidney problems. The kidneys produce substances to deal with metabolites from the meat, this substance impair the kidneys overtime.

·         Avoid high-fat foods. They contain cholesterol that could block your arteries over time.

·         Drug abuse is not friendly to the kidney. Be careful in the use of pain killers.
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