There are some simple steps you can take to help keep your kidneys healthy.
When working properly, your kidneys rid your blood of toxins and excess water, help maintain healthy blood pressure, produce red blood cells and keep bones healthy. But kidney disease can compromise the ability of your kidneys to do these things. World Kidney Day, March 14, is a good opportunity to learn how you can keep your kidneys healthy.
• Eat a balanced diet, exercise and maintain a healthy weight. This will help reduce your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic kidney-related disease.
• Keep blood pressure and blood sugar levels in check. Talk to your doctor and have your levels tested to determine if you're able to do this by living a healthy lifestyle or if you also need to take medication.
• Drink plenty of water and healthy fluids. The goal is to drink enough, but not overdo it. The amount of fluid that's right for you depends on your gender, how much you exercise, the climate you're in and your overall health.
• Don't smoke. Smoking not only compromises kidney function, it raises your risk of kidney cancer by approximately 50 percent.
• Take over-the-counter medication only as instructed or approved by your doctor. Even something as seemingly innocent as ibuprofen can cause a problem if abused. So don't take more than the prescribed dosage for more than the prescribed time unless approved by your doctor.
• Talk with your doctor. Inform your doctor of family health history and any problems you experience. Schedule wellness visits and any recommended screening tests to help stay healthy.