March is National Kidney Month and, because our kidneys have an
important job, it’s important to do what we can to take care of
Knowing the signs and symptoms of kidney disease is important, but
what about preventative measures we can take to avoid kidney
The kidneys are twin, fist-size organs located at the bottom of the
rib cage on either side of the spine.
They perform several functions, the most important of which is
filtering waste products, excess water and other impurities out of the
These waste products are stored in the bladder and later leave the
body as urine.
• The kidneys’ main function is removing waste from your blood
• Kidneys are essential to having a healthy body.
Here are some key tips for promoting kidney health:
1> Control blood sugar
High blood-sugar levels damage the small blood vessels in the
kidneys as well as the rest of the body.
2> Control blood pressure
Reduce salt intake, quit smoking.
3> Be careful with over-the-counter drugs
• Follow dosage instructions for over-the-counter medications.
• Taking too much aspirin or ibuprofen can cause kidney damage.
• If normal doses of these medications are not effective at
controlling pain, see a doctor.
4> Get tested
• Ask your doctor about a blood test for kidney problems.
• Kidney problems don’t usually cause symptoms until they have
• A basic metabolic panel, or BMP, can detect issues early, when
they are easier to treat.
• If you are diabetic or have heart disease, high blood pressure, or
another kidney disease risk factor, you should be tested annually.
5> Drink plenty of water
Dehydration can cause kidney damage. In addition, drinking water
leads to frequent urination, which can help expel kidney stones
before they grow large enough to cause severe pain as they pass
6> Limit certain foods
Different chemicals can contribute to kidney stones, including
excessive sodium, animal protein, citric acid, found in citrus fruits
such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits, and oxalate, a chemical
found in rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, sweet potatoes, tea and
7> Ask about calcium
• Consult a doctor before taking a calcium supplement.
• They have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones,
though reducing intake of oxalic acid and increasing citric acid in
the diet are more important to reducing the incidence of kidney
stones than reducing calcium stones.
If you have a loved one with kidney disease, you’re not alone.
If you’re looking for additional support at home to help manage this
and/or other conditions, you can contact our local team anytime,
24/7. You can also check out the National Kidney Foundation
Website for additional information and some great resources.
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