10 tips to take care of your kidneys

Reduce sodium in your diet.
Stay away from processed foods and processed meats. 
Instead make daily choices of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, suggests nephrologist Dr Chandan Chaudhari.

Summer is finally here and there is no better time to emphasise the importance of eating right and staying hydrated.

But how much water should you drink in a day to help your kidneys function effectively?

Kidneys play a crucial role as they help flush out toxins and cleanse your body every day.

By filtering blood, kidneys control the fluid balance in your body and keep electrolytes in check.

If you do not take care of your kidneys, the imbalance can cause several irreversible damages.

Here are 10 simple tips to keep your kidneys healthy at all times:

1. Hydrate your body well 

Usually people have a common belief that one needs to drink lots of water to keep your kidneys healthy.

Contrary to this belief there is no study to prove over-hydration enhances kidney functioning.

It’s always a good idea to drink 9 to 13 cups of water a day.

Drinking too much won’t help your kidneys do a better job. When the kidney fails, less is more as people don’t excrete enough water.

2. Eating healthy and low fat food 

To cut down the risk of high blood sugar, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease is very important as most of the kidney problems arise due to such medical conditions.

Reduce sodium in your diet.

Stay away from processed foods and processed meats.

Instead make daily choices of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

3. Increase physical activity 

Physical activity and daily exercising benefits health, including to maintain normal blood pressure and lowering blood fat levels.

It also helps to keep sugar levels in control. It is not recommended to over exert yourself when you are not in good health especially if you are at risk for heart disease.

4. Be mindful about over-the counter medicines 

If you are depended upon painkillers for everyday pain or joint swellings, then you need to talk to your physician about checking kidney functioning.

These over the counter drugs can harm kidneys if taken regularly over a long period of time.

5. Be cautious about the supplements and herbal remedies too 

Excessive amounts of using Vitamin supplements and herbal remedies may become harmful to your kidneys.

Talk to your doctor and plan well about any vitamins and herbs you intake.

6. Keep high blood pressure under control 

The blood pressure pills preferred for people with kidney disease helps to protect the heart also.

Be sure to follow up with your doctor to understand fluid and sodium (salt) limits.

If you have high blood pressure, then have your kidney functions monitored regularly.

7. Maintain your blood sugar levels 

Ask your doctor to identify what your A1C test score is. Maintain your blood sugar levels within range to protect your kidney health.

8. Stop smoking 

One of the important factors in prevention of kidney and heart disease is to stop smoking.

Regular smoking causes hardening of arteries which causes both coronary artery disease as well as nephrosclerosis, or hardening of the kidney.

Smoking also can be responsible for developing high blood pressure which can cause heart and kidney diseases.

9. Monitor weight 

Overweight or obese people are at risk for a number of health conditions that can also damage kidneys.

Check your BMI to know if your body weight is in tune to your height.

10. Get tested

If you are at high risk of kidney damage or kidney disease, it’s good to have regular kidney function tested.

High risk people may include those above 60 years of age, people born with low birth weight, cardiovascular diseases, those who are obese or with family history of cardio vascular disease or high blood pressure.

The best way to keep your kidneys safe is to take care of your body well. This would reduce the chances of developing diseases that may put your kidneys to risk.

Dr Chandan Chaudhari is a consultant nephrologist, Masina Hospital, Mumbai.

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