Chronic kidney disease is the ninth-leading cause of death in America. Kidneys play an instrumental role in our bodies—they help prevent waste build up, make hormones, and keep electrolyte levels stable. In short, our kidneys keep us going. So, it’s important that we show them some love by living and eating mindfully.
March is National Kidney Month. Now is the ideal time to assess our kidney health and prevent kidney disease.
One of the reasons why kidney disease is so deadly is because it’s hard to detect. There are often no symptoms and the disease often goes undetected until a person is in an advanced stage. It’s estimated that over 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease and most don’t know it.
4 Mindful Tips for Kidney Health
Listed below are some Mindful ways for people to prevent kidney disease.
- Know the major risk factors. Three of the main risk factors for kidney disease are age, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
- Age. Experts say that as we age, we lose kidney function. So, while a person can develop kidney disease at any time, the risk increases for people over the age of 60.
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the kidney that filter blood. Damaged blood vessels make a person’s blood pressure harder to manage. It can also cause kidney failure. So, controlling our high blood pressure is vital to reducing kidney disease risk.
- Diabetes. One-third of people with diabetes also develop kidney disease. Controlling our blood sugar is important for reducing this risk.
- Get tested regularly. Regular testing is important for the early disease detection. There are two simple tests for kidney disease: urine and blood tests. The urine test tells if a person’s kidneys are filtering out the important proteins that are needed. The blood test will tell if a person’s kidneys are removing all the waste product from their blood.
- Drink right. When a person is hydrated it’s easier for their kidneys to remove the toxins from their body. The daily recommendation is four to six glasses of water per day. Fresh juice can also help with kidney health, but caffeinated coffee and tea can actually reduce the fluids in the body, making the kidneys work harder. It’s also important to avoid drinking alcohol, which can make it more difficult for kidneys to keep electrolyte levels stable.
- Eat foods good for kidneys. One of the kidneys main functions is removing toxins from the body. The healthier food a person eats, the easier it is for kidneys to function. People should avoid eating junk food (which are typically high in sugar and salt) and eat foods that are good for the kidneys, such as red bell peppers, cabbage, apples, and red grapes.