Considered one of the five vital organs found in the body (along with the heart, brain, liver, and lungs), the kidneys are extremely important to a person’s health. Our kidneys are responsible for removing waste, toxins, and extra fluid from the blood. Needless to say, being proactive about maintaining the health and wellness of your kidneys is essential. That’s why we wanted to take some time to educate our readers during National Kidney Month this March.
Kidney problems can take many forms. The most common form of kidney disease is chronic kidney disease, a long-term condition that is often caused by high blood pressure. High blood pressure is dangerous and causes the kidneys to increase pressure on the glomeruli, tiny blood vessels in the kidneys where blood is cleaned. Over time, this increase in pressure can damage the glomeruli and negatively affect kidney function. Other notable kidney issues include kidney stones, polycystic kidney disease, and urinary tract infections.
There are several notable symptoms to look out for when scanning for kidney disease. Frequent urination is chief among them. Additionally, early signs of potential kidney disease may include fatigue, difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite, dry skin, muscle cramping, and more. More severe symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and fluid retention can mean that kidney disease is progressing into kidney failure. In such cases, we recommend seeking immediate medical attention.
If you’re concerned about kidney disease, we recommend the following simple prevention tips:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water every day (8 8oz glasses, or roughly 2 liters each day is recommend)
- Control blood pressure and speak with your doctor if it is high
- Keep tabs on your blood sugar levels, especially if you are diabetic
- Do not smoke or ingest other forms of nicotine
- Get regular moderate exercise every day
- Limit alcohol intake
The best key to long term kidney wellness is to speak with your doctor during annual appointments about the state of your kidney health and make sure everything is functioning as it should be. Knowledge and a proactive approach are essential allies in the fight against kidney disease. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers, please contact Family Practice Center today. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional health tips, news, and more.