Much like heart disease, ailing kidneys typically do not show warning signs of a problem, which is why it is important to keep your kidneys healthy. Even when the kidneys do give early indication of a problem, most people confuse these symptoms with other less serious health concerns such as muscle pain. If you ignore early signs, you risk severe damage to the kidneys–and often other organs. Let’s learn more about the kidneys and how to keep them healthy.
In our previous blog post, “Is a High Protein Diet Damaging Your Kidneys,” we learned about the 8 functions the kidneys perform for the body and how a diet that is too high in protein can stress the kidneys resulting in kidney disease or even kidney failure. In this post we will
The kidneys do much more than just remove waste from the body via the urinary system. Outside the urinary system, the kidneys have 8 crucial jobs that affect the healthy function of many other organs in the body, especially the heart.
Because symptoms of kidney dysfunction and disease can be misleading, it’s important to pay attention to both vague symptoms and specific problems with urination that you’re experiencing. Don’t wait until your symptoms get too painful to cope with…see your doctor at the start of symptoms such as these:
Several known risk factors for kidney disease include older age (60+ years ), diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, overuse of prescription medicines, and obesity. Additionally, long-term overconsumption of dietary protein may contribute to risk for kidney disease. Kidney problems and advanced kidney disease has increasingly affected children, athletes, and younger adults–not just the elderly. Whether you or immediate family members have these other conditions can increase your risk for kidney disease.
There are a few types of kidney disease and various levels of severity. To make things simpler, we’re not explaining the medical details but giving an overview. If you’d like to know more about specific types of kidney diseases, chronic and acute kidney disease, visit this resource.
Cause: bacteria in the bladder that moves into the kidneys.
Symptoms: low back pain, painful urination, and sometimes fever. Changes in the urine may include the presence of blood, cloudiness, and a different odor.
Notes: Kidney infection is more common in women than in men. Pregnant women are at an increased risk.Can become a chronic health condition that diminishes kidney function.
Cause: form as a solid build-up of minerals in the kidney, causing intense pain. If the stones block the ureter, there will be other problems with urinary function and infection.
Symptoms: Pain in the abdomen/low back, pain with urination
The kidneys become unable to effectively filter out waste products from the blood. This can happen over time (chronic) or suddenly (acute). It is life threatening.
If disease has severely impaired kidney function then dialysis might be an option. Kidney dialysis aims to complete the primary functions of a healthy kidney, including removal of waste, excess salt, and water; maintaining the body’s balance of minerals and electrolytes; and maintaining blood pressure. Dialysis is only used for end-stage kidney failure where 85 to 90% of kidney function is lost.
If you don’t have a family history or other risk factors for kidney disease, that’s great ! To keep your kidneys healthy and working strong for your body, follow these tips:
Eat a Balanced Diet. Eat the optimal amount of protein for your age and activity level. This means your diet is in balance by including lots of fresh whole foods, lean poultry/meat, whole grains and limited sugar/processed food.
Work Your Body. Exercising for 30 minutes every day can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and obesity, both of which put pressure on kidney health.
Get Plenty of H20. Fluid intake is important, especially water. In general, the guidelines are to drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water per day to help improve and maintain kidney health. (If you weigh 120 lbs, drink 60 ounces of water.) Some people have medical conditions or are on medications that change this guideline. Discuss this with your holistic doctor.
Moderate Use of Alcohol. Consuming more than one drink per day can harm the kidneys and impair renal function.
Give up Nicotine. Tobacco restricts blood vessels. Without an adequate blood supply, the kidneys will not be able to complete their normal work.
If you have risk factors for kidney disease or are concerned about early warning signs, speak with a physician. They will guide you on proper testing, dietary, and lifestyle changes that could save your life.
To achieve optimal health, you need exceptional primary medical care with a physician who takes the time to get to know you and who provides outstanding medical expertise. At Hillandale Primary Care, we are dedicated to providing you and your family with the best medical care available. Our commitment to your health and wellbeing includes listening carefully to understand your specific needs and following through with specific and general preventive measures and treatment approaches.
Our family medicine practice is located in Lawrenceville and Lithonia, GA. Family medicine involves providing comprehensive health care that integrates the biological, clinical and behavioral sciences. The scope of family medicine encompasses all ages, sexes, each organ system and every disease. Because your primary care doctor takes time to know your health history in depth, they are often the first to help you identify serious illness and point you in the direction of appropriate advanced care with medical specialists.
In addition to scheduling regular physicals, the doctors at Hillandale Primary Care also encourage our patients to feel comfortable in discussing their emotional, mental and spiritual concerns with us, as these factors can significantly impact your overall health.
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