What is Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic Kidney disease means your kidney is damaged for more than three months. The best diagnostic tool to gauge whether someone has chronic kidney disease is checking the glomerular filtration rate or how fast your kidney filters your blood. If it's less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m2, it is abnormal for any adult.
Chronic kidney disease is most commonly found in people who suffer from one of its concomitants, meaning related illnesses such as blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. If you suffer from any of these, recognize that your risk of chronic kidney disease is higher than average. If you do not suffer from any of these and have CKD, you may develop one as they go hand in hand.
If left untreated chronic kidney disease worsens and may turn into kidney failure. That is when you lose all function in one or both kidneys. Kidney failure can be temporary and reversible (acute) or permanent and irreversible (chronic). Treatments include dialysis and kidney transplantation.
Is it possible to prevent chronic kidney disease? Yes, it is. Kidneys are known as the silent organ, which means that they keep working and show symptoms very late. Prevention and care need to start well before you feel any strange symptoms. Taking care of your overall health takes care of your kidneys. Here are a few ways you can prevent chronic kidney disease:
Know if You're at a High Risk
Get regular checkups to manage your overall health to catch diseases that lead to CKD early on, like blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes. If you find out that you are at high risk, speak to your doctor about getting your blood or urine tested for CKD. The most reliable way to learn if you have chronic kidney disease before having any physical symptoms is to check your glomerular filtration rate.
The kidney filters your blood from any impurities. Its job can be a lot easier if your diet is cleaner. It is advisable to eat a heart-healthy diet low in sugar and high in fiber. You don't have to limit yourself excessively. The less processed food in your diet, the better. Speak to a dietician about eating healthy for the sake of your kidneys.
If you maintain a healthy lifestyle otherwise, you can follow what is known as the 80%-20% rule. 80% of your diet is healthy food, and 20% of the time, you indulge your junk food cravings. It's best to save that 20% for family get-togethers, dates, and holidays.
Drink Lots of Water
This one is a no-brainer. The kidneys can filter your blood more efficiently when you are well hydrated. Their job becomes a lot easier, and less pressure is put on them. A good rule of thumb is to drink to satisfy your thirst and a half a glass more to be safe. If you easily forget to drink water, you can download an app to give you reminders based on your goal throughout the day.
Exercise is the most crucial element of staying healthy. When you use your muscles and move around, you use the sugar in your blood more efficiently, reducing your risk of getting diabetes. Exercising ensures that you do not gain weight to the degree it starts becoming a health concern.
Even without changing your diet, you will lose weight if you start light exercise for twenty minutes every day. Start making the more active choice every chance you get. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and walk instead of getting that cab. Along with preventing diabetes, an active lifestyle improves patients' blood pressure with hypertension.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption and Smoking
Alcohol consumption increases your blood pressure and puts unnecessary pressure on your kidneys. It is great once in a while, especially in the company of good friends, but it should not be a daily ritual. Also, alcoholic beverages are empty calories. They are high in calories but low in nutrients and should be factored into your diet accordingly.
Smoking restricts the blood flow to your kidneys while increasing your blood pressure, narrowing your kidney blood vessels, and thickening the kidney arteries until they are inflexible. This onslaught of aggression means that smoking is nasty for your kidney health. It would be best to consider cutting down significantly or quitting to preserve your kidney health.
If you keep yourself healthy overall and often check to know if you have or are at risk for chronic kidney disease, you can prevent it for as long as possible. The early detection and treatment of CKD are essential to prevent heart issues or kidney failure. Eat well, drink lots of water, avoid smoking, and exercise to prevent serious health issues.