Ways to maintain kidney health and protect your kidneys from damage.
March is National Kidney Month! Maintaining kidney health is essential to your overall health and wellbeing. Why? Because your kidneys perform vital functions, like filtering and expelling waste and producing hormones to help your body ‘work’ correctly.
While kidney function generally decreases with age, there are steps that seniors can take to maintain kidney health and reduce the risk of kidney disease.
Here are a few tips we recommend this month and beyond to keep your kidneys healthy:
If you’re over 60, the National Kidney Foundation recommends a kidney disease screening each year. Regardless of age, people at higher risk for kidney disease, such as those with diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or a family history of kidney failure, should also be screened annually. Early detection of kidney disease is crucial to treating and managing the illness, so it’s important to be tested regularly.
Be mindful of over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
Certain OTC pills, including ibuprofen and other non-steroidals (aka NSAIDs), can cause kidney damage with regular, prolonged usage. If you’re at risk of kidney disease and take OTC medicines for chronic pain, arthritis, or other conditions, you should consult with your doctor about regular kidney testing and/or alternate forms of pain management.
Physical activity, whether walking, biking, light aerobics, or many other options, help stave off high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which can put your kidneys at risk.
Adopt a kidney-healthy diet.
Maintaining a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is a great way to keep your weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar in check. If you’re at high-risk of kidney disease, or already have Chronic Kidney Disease, you may consider adopting the DASH diet, which can slow the progression of both heart and kidney disease. DASH promotes a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy, with low intake of sodium, sugar, and red meat.
Taking these steps can be incredibly valuable in supporting kidney health, and preventing future decline. Remember, more time with healthy kidneys means more time living healthier, and happier!
Published on 3/1/23
Photo credit: Getty