Your kidneys are vital to your health and wellbeing. Factors that may increase your risk of chronic kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, smoking, and obesity. A healthy lifestyle is key to keeping your kidneys in tiptop shape.
Here are simple but effective ways to keep your kidneys healthy:
Eat a healthy, low-fat, low-salt diet. Reduce your salt intake by limiting the amount of processed and restaurant food in your diet. Do not add salt to food.
Stay active to maintain a healthy weight. Exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Ideal forms of physical activity include walking, running, biking, swimming, and lifting weights, among others.
Check and control your blood sugar. Diabetes, if uncontrolled, damages the kidneys.
Unfortunately, many people with diabetes don’t know they have the condition. If you have a family history of diabetes or are middle-aged, talk to your doctor about regular blood sugar tests, and blood and urine tests to monitor your kidney function.
Check and control your blood pressure. Long-term high blood pressure (hypertension) damages the kidneys. As with diabetes, many people with hypertension are often unaware they have the condition. As such, you need to check your blood pressure regularly. This is particularly important for middle-aged individuals.
If you smoke, quit. Smoking hinders blood supply to the kidneys, and increases blood pressure and kidney cancer risk, among many other harmful effects.
Go easy on pain/anti-inflammation medications. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can harm the kidneys if taken regularly. If you are experiencing symptoms of pain, it’s important to talk to your doctor for proper medications.
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