The kidney is one of the most important organs in our body as it plays a crucial role in removing waste products from the blood and regulating the fluid levels. Every day these organs, which are placed below the rib cage on either side of the spine, filter about 180 ml of blood to sift out about 800 ml of waste product and excess water. Hence, it is very important to keep the kidneys healthy.
While preventing the build-up of wastes and excess fluid, kidneys also keep electrolyte levels stable and produce hormones that make red blood cells. People who have high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney failure are at increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease. But even if you don’t fall into one of these high-risk categories, it’s important to keep your kidneys healthy.
Here are five simple lifestyle changes one can make to ensure the healthy functioning of the kidneys, as suggested by Mrinal Pandit, chief dietician, Nephro Plus.
Keep yourself hydrated
Drinking plenty of water will help the kidneys function properly. An individual weighing about 70 kg requires around 2500 ml water to avoid dehydration. Your body is well hydrated if your urine is straw-coloured; if it is darker, it is an indicator to increase your fluid intake. Discolouration of urine can also be due to some medications. Reduce the intake of diuretics in the food as they can make your body produce more urine, and cause you to lose sodium and water.
Visit a doctor regularly
As per a report, diabetes and hypertension account for about 40-60 per cent cases of chronic kidney disease in India. Therefore, if you have a history of any of the co-morbidities, get yourself screened regularly and keep the levels under control. Get your A1C test at least twice a year, but ideally up to four times a year. If your blood pressure is high, get it checked frequently and keep it under control to make sure your kidneys stay fit. Following a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet also helps reduce blood pressure.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet ensures you are getting ample vitamins and minerals for the proper functioning of the organs. No single food provides nutrients in the right quantity for good health so avoid monotonous diet; eat a variety of seasonal foods. Choose natural foods as they more nutritious than their preserved counterparts. Remember to eat well, but do not over eat as it can lead to obesity. Regular exercise can also help keep your blood pressure and sugar levels under control. Exercises such as walking, cycling or swimming also help maintain your kidney health.
Avoid OTC medications
Avoid over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen for everyday pain or joint swelling without doctor’s prescription. These drugs can cause damage to the kidneys if taken too often over a long period.
Smoking can damage blood vessels and raise the chance of high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of kidney failure. People with high blood pressure should talk with their health care provider about available therapy and treatment to quit smoking.