26-03-2021 / Kidney and Nephrology

8 Secrets to keep your Kidney Healthy

According to the latest survey, it is estimated that we lose almost 33.5 million lives to kidney disease every year. We must keep our Kidney Healthy, and here are few easy ways to keep our kidneys healthy and disease-free.

8 Secrets to keep your Kidney Healthy
Mazia Ahmed Mazia Ahmed

Mazia Ahmed

MSc Nutrition Science, Ph.D. Scholar

Introduction

  • The kidney is an essential organ of the body, and we cannot live without it. Through these kidneys, the waste is removed, the body fluid is controlled, and the surplus waste and water are removed by urination. This mechanism is essential to keep the body's chemical balance stable. If its behavior is irregular, due to any reason, it may cause severe and life-threatening problems. 

  • According to the World Health Organization's latest analysis, it is estimated that we lose almost 33.5 million lives to kidney disease every year. Globally, it ranks as the number one cause of death. Kidney diseases have elevated to new heights.     

  • According to the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of Indian adults with chronic kidney (CKD) disease is now estimated to be 37 million – one in seven or 15 percent of the adult population. 

The graph given below clearly depicts the amount of elderly and middle-aged people suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease. CKD is widely prevalent in India. One out of three Indians is more likely to have kidney failure – troubling statistics revealed by the Disease Control and Prevention Centres. Kidney disease is a silent killing agent that primarily affects your life.

Chronic Kidney Disease CKD

 Why are the Kidneys so Important?

  • Waste and excess body fluid have a vital role to play in the kidneys. The waste material generated by the entire body, and excess fluid are removed by the kidney through the formation of urine. Urine production involves incredibly complex excretion and reabsorption steps. This process is essential to keep the body's chemical balance stable.

  • The body content is critically regulated with salt, potassium, and fluid. The kidneys also generate hormones that affect other organ functions. Some kidney hormones also contribute to regulate blood pressure and control the metabolism of calcium.

How do the kidneys work?

  • Two kidneys, each about one hand's size, lie on each side of the rib cage. Per kidney has up to one million units of nephrons. A nephron consists of a small filtering unit called the glomerulus. The blood is filtered through the glomerulus, and the remaining fluid along with the waste material passes along the urinary tract and is excreted out of the body as urine.

  • The kidneys are filtering and returning up to two hundred quarters of the fluid into the bloodstream every 24 hours. Approximately two quarters are eliminated from the body in the form of urine, while the remainder, about 198 quarters, is retained in the body. The urine is stored in the bladder for 1-8 hours.

How do the kidneys work

Functioning of Glomerulus

A cluster of blood vessels called glomerulus filters the blood entering the kidney. Smaller molecules, waste, and fluid, especially water, are filtered transported into the adjoining tubule due to the glomerulus's thin walls. Large molecules, including protein and blood cells, are retained in the blood vessels.

Functioning of tubules

The blood vessel runs parallel to the tubule. The blood vessel absorbs nearly all the water, along with the minerals and nutrients needed for your body, while the diluted fluid travels along the tubule. The remaining fluid and waste are converted into the urine in the tubule and are excreted out of the body.

Causes of Chronic Kidney Diseases

Chronic kidney failure has some renal abnormality, including protein in the urine and reduced kidney function for three months or more. It has multiple causes. Diseases like hypertension and diabetes will affect the kidneys. Some common causes of kidney diseases are:

  • Diabetes is a condition that insufficiently supplies the body with insulin. It results in a high blood sugar level, thereby creating problems in the entire body, including the kidney. The more than normal level of sugar in the blood can damage the kidney to a greater extend. 

  • Hypertension is another common cause of inadequate kidney functioning and other problems like heart disease and strokes. The risk of complications, including chronic kidney disease, can be reduced by managing the conditions properly.

  • Congenital illnesses can impact the kidneys as well. One of the most common is when a ureter and bladder system fails to operate properly, allowing urine to reflux into the kidneys, causing infections and potential kidney damage.

  • Toxins and medicines can also lead to renal complications. The long-term use of large numbers of pain relievers can be toxic to the kidneys. Other drugs like heroin and cocaine can also cause kidney damage. 

Causes of Chronic Kidney Diseases

Common Kidney Diseases

  • Glomerulonephritis

    It is an inflammatory disease of the small filtering units or glomeruli present in the kidney. It can be acute or chronic. When the glomeruli get damaged or inflamed, the kidney could not work effectively.

  • Polycystic kidney disease:

    The most prevalent inherited kidney disorder is polycystic kidney disease. The development of kidney cysts is characterized by a length of time that causes significant damage to the kidney and even kidney failure. Some inherited kidney disorders include Alport syndrome, primary hyperoxaluria, and cystinuria.

  • Kidney stones

    Kidney stones are prevalent, and they can cause severe back and side pain as they pass through. Kidney stones can have multiple potential causes, including a genetic disorder, which causes excessive calcium to be ingested by food and urinary tract diseases or obstructions. Drugs and diets can also help avoid the recurring formation of stones. If stones are too heavy to pass, the stones can be removed or broken into tiny fragments to help pass out of the body.

  • Urinary tract infection

    Infections of the urinary tract occur as germs enter the urinary tract and cause pain or burning sensation during urination. These infections mainly involve the bladder, but occasionally they extend to the kidneys, causing fatigue and back pain.

Secrets to keep your kidney healthy

Some of the easiest efforts to conserve the kidneys in fine health are discussed below:

1. Maintain a balanced diet

All you eat is filtered your kidneys. Food that affects the kidney contains foods you eat, like fats, excessive dairy products, salt, or sugar, that are bad for your health. A poor diet, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and some other conditions can lead to adverse effects on your kidneys over time. Your kidney works smoothly with foods that contain fiber, fruit, nuts, and vegetables. Do not eat foods that are refined or processed.

2. Avoid taking frequent NSAID medication

Regular consumption of popular pain-relieving drugs called NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can adversely affect the kidneys. With kidney failure or a reduced kidney function, you will do more damage to the kidneys by taking only a few doses. Persons with reduced kidney capacity should develop a schedule with their primary care provider to deal with pain without conflict with overall medications.

3. Keep yourself hydrated

Keep yourself hydrated for Healthy Kidney

Water helps your kidneys receive vital nutrients and transfers waste in the form of urine out of the body. Typically, adequate consumption of water for a healthy person is eight glasses or 2 liters a day. Consult a physician on the required fluid intake as per your medical history, age, and activity, depending on the climatic or body conditions.

4. Control and Check the blood pressure

High blood pressure can affect the kidneys and is more vulnerable when combined with other conditions such as diabetes and cholesterol. If you have high blood pressure, particularly as a young person, you should ask your doctor about the risks of reducing long-term kidney effects; you need dietary changes and medication.

5. Regular Exercise

Exercising regularly and staying healthy helps sustain optimum body weight, lower your blood pressure and decrease your chance of kidney disease. The right mix is the key – start slowly and work your way up. Be sure to remain hydrated because our body needs more water during exercise. You can talk to your doctor to establish an exercise routine that takes your experience into account if you are at great risk for kidney diseases.

6. Quit excessive drinking

Measuring occasional alcohol consumption is important as it can have serious health effects if not controlled. Heavy drinking undoubtedly doubles the chance of kidney failure. 

7. Quit smoking

The flow of blood to the organs is slowed down by smoking. Their capacity to function normally decreases as the blood enters the kidneys. The probability of renal cancer has increased by about 50% in smokers. The best plan of action is to quit smoking.

8. Get yourself regularly checked

In the case you are at risk of kidney disease, check your kidneys routinely and do basic blood and urine checks with your health specialist. Early diagnosis of progressive renal disease is the best way to treat it at the earliest. Early care is essential and can help avoid future health issues.

Word of Wisdom

  • A healthy kidney purifies the blood and keeps the water, salts, and minerals balanced perfectly. Without this balance, the body's functions and organs, like nerves, muscles, and other tissues, might not work effectively. 

  • The kidney is one of the most important parts of the body that helps maintain the body fluid and toxicity level by eliminating waste in the form of urine. A healthy lifestyle must be followed to keep the kidney fit and functioning throughout life.

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