Don’t let your kidneys fail!

Kidneys

Kidneys perform a life-sustaining job of filtering fluid, removing waste products and excess fluid from the body. Around 10% of the population suffers from some form of kidney damage, and every year millions die prematurely of complications related to chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is the gradual loss of kidney function.

World Kidney Day is held on the second Thursday of March to create awareness for reducing the frequency of kidney associated health problems. It is a joint initiative of International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN). This year WKD is celebrated on 10th March 2016.

Although CKD is a life-threatening illness, it can be prevented and managed if diagnosed early. Read on to catch a kidney disease early and steps to prevent it.

FAST FACTS

  • It is estimated that 300 million people suffer from CKD, worldwide.
  • Globally, CKD is the 12th leading cause of death and 17th leading cause of disability.

 

Spot the warning signs and symptoms

  • High blood pressure
  • Changes in the appearance of urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Changes in the amount and number of times urine is passed especially during night
  • Puffiness in legs and ankles
  • Pain in the kidney area
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headache
  • Lack of concentration
  • Itching
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bad breath and a metallic taste in mouth

 

Assess your risks and take important tests:

You might be at an increased risk for kidney disease if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of CKD, cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Obesity, old age, chronic urinary tract infections, kidney stones, obesity and low-birth weight are other additional risk factors you need to be aware of.

If you belong to the high-risk group, it is better to consult a doctor and take simple, life-saving tests to measure parameters like blood pressure, protein in the urine, serum creatinine, and Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR).

 

CKD can cause the following health issues:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Death
  • Weak bones
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Kidney failure (end-stage renal disease, or ESRD)
  • Anaemia or low red blood cell count

 

If you are at risk, follow these tips to prevent CKD:

A.   Consume lesser proteins: You should reduce the intake of high-protein foods like lean meats, eggs, milk, cheese and beans and try to consume more of low-protein foods such as vegetables, fruits, bread and cereals.

B.   Avoid salted foods: Lower the amount of sodium you consume by avoiding products with added salt like frozen foods, canned soups, fast foods, processed meats, salty snack foods, and canned vegetables.

C.   Choose lower potassium foods: Reduce the intake of high-potassium foods like bananas, oranges, potatoes, spinach and tomatoes. Include low-potassium foods such as apples, cabbage, carrots, green beans, grapes, and blueberries in your diet.

D.   Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake: Smoking increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and can worsen your kidney problems. Excessive alcohol intake will cause an increase in blood pressure and a rise in blood cholesterol and hence CKD.

E.   Exercise regularly: Around 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week can reduce your risk of developing CKD by lowering your blood pressure.

DID YOU KNOW?

According to a study, a minimal amount of walking – just once a week for less than 30 minutes helped kidney disease patients live longer, and also cut their requirements of dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Your kidneys are precious. Make sure to get regular health screenings.

SOURCES:

  1. NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION. ACCESSED FEB 25, 2016.
  2. NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE. ACCESSED FEB 26, 2016.
  3. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION. ACCESSED FEB 26, 2016.