Kidney consciousness - Protect your kidneys!
- By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi
Kidney diseases are gaining widespread importance. In the earlier days, when one mentioned kidney disease, what came to mind were the kidney stones. Those days are passé. Today the kidney has found several diseases to fight off. From infections to chronic kidney failures, today’s kidneys go through all.
The approach to kidney disease is of early detection and aggressive treatment to prevent long term problems.
About 20-40% diabetics develop chronic kidney disease, which can be significantly lowered with early detection.
Diabetes type II and hypertension together form the leading cause of death the world over. They are also the leading cause of kidney failures as well, diabetes more than hypertension. High blood pressure and high blood glucose levels kill the kidney. If this is not enough, we subject the kidneys to other forms of torture like alcohol, salty junk food and dehydrating drinks!
What can be done to keep the kidneys safe?
- Keep your blood glucose levels under check. Diabetic nephropathy is the most frequent and serious complication of diabetes type II. About 20-40% diabetics develop chronic kidney disease, which can be significantly lowered with early detection.
- Keep your blood pressure under tight control, preferably less than 130/90 mm of Hg. Too much pressure in the blood damages the kidneys. Additionally, check your BP regularly, even if you are not hypertensive. Hypertension is the number one silent killer of the kidneys.
- Rest adequately. Not getting enough rest and recreation makes you prone to develop heart diseases and diabetes, which in turn puts your kidneys at risk.
- Exercise regularly. Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle are related to obesity. The obesity-diabetes-heart disease vicious circle ends up as a loop of danger around the kidneys too.
- Cut the salt in your food. Too much junk food means too much salt finding its way into your body. Salt is a known cause for hypertension. Hypertension’s end target is the kidneys.
- Limit the alcohol intake. Too much of alcohol causes disturbances in your body’s hormonal and electrolyte balances. This ends up taking a toll on the kidneys.
- Be careful with the supplements. Vitamin D supplements have been shown to have a negative effect on the kidneys. Herbal supplements may have certain ingredients that cannot be filtered by the kidney causing damage to the kidneys.
- Get regular kidney tests done. This is the last and most important aspect of preventing kidney disease. The approach to kidney disease is of early detection and aggressive treatment to prevent long term problems. So, regular simple urine and blood tests that will tell you about the levels of the proteins, sugar, ketone bodies and other elements in the urine are vital indicators of your kidney’s health.
Kidney failure is a serious matter. Since the diseases that damage the kidney are chronic and insidious in nature, kidney problems are revealed only in the late stages. Hence, it is vital to diagnose the kidney problems at the earliest possible stage.