The kidneys are vital organs that filter toxins and other waste products from your blood, produce urine and hormones, and maintain levels of minerals in your bloodstream. Keeping them healthy is very important as kidney disease can have a devastating impact on your wellbeing.
The kidneys filter roughly 200 litres of blood everyday, removing toxins, wastes and water from your body in the process. Kidney health is quite closely linked with lifestyle factors such diet and weight, so it important to watch what you eat and drink, to exercise regularly and to get regular checkups from your doctor to help protect your kidneys.
Here are 6 helpful tips to keep your kidneys as healthy as possible at every stage of life, and to reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease.
It is a rule of thumb that you should drink 2 to 3 litres of water every day to stay in good health. Maintaining a healthy intake of fluids helps the kidneys clear toxins from the body, and is believed to significantly reduce the risk of kidney disease. However, too much water, or “aggressive fluid intake” can cause side effects and is discouraged.
The best way to keep an eye on your hydration is to examine the colour of your pee when you urinate: pale yellow or clear is fine, while a darker yellow means you should drink more. Also, stick to water! Stay away from sugary drinks like juice and sodas, and tea and coffee. Your kidneys have to work harder to filter toxins from these fluids.
While high blood pressure is often associated with heart disease and stroke, it is also the most common cause of kidney damage. The kidneys are vascular organs, meaning they contain many blood vessels, and even slightly elevated blood pressure can damage them. It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly by your doctor to help protect your kidneys!
Keeping fit by exercising every other day helps reduce blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of kidney disease. It is believed that obesity is closely linked to kidney related problems too, so if you are overweight, adjust your exercise levels accordingly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, cycling or swimming, five times a week.
Your diet impacts your entire body, and eating healthy foods can help prevent high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and other conditions associated with kidney disease. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and reduce your salt intake by eating less processed and takeaway foods. A balanced diet is the most kidney-friendly.
Smoking can have a devastating impact on your kidney health for three reasons: it can damage blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood in the kidneys, and without adequate blood flow their function decreases; it can also contribute to high blood pressure and significantly increase the risk of kidney cancer.
It is also important to limit your alcohol intake to a maximum of two standard drinks per day for men and one for women. Excess consumption of alcohol can contribute to high blood pressure.
Some common non-prescription medication, such as ibuprofen, can cause kidney damage if taken regularly and for a prolonged period of time. If they are taken occasionally to manage pain, such a period pain or headaches, and your kidneys are healthy, they shouldn’t pose a risk. But if they are taken regularly to manage chronic pain or a condition. You should discuss kidney health with your doctor.
If you have any further questions about kidney health, and would like to book an appointment, please feel free to call. Dr Arianayagam is one of the most respected urologists in Sydney, and is a one of the top urological surgeons in Sydney.