Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy During Kidney Awareness Month

Kidneys are essential to your bodily functions, as they filter waste products, water, and other impurities from your bloodstream, as well as regulate your blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells.

posted on 3/3/2022 in BLOGS from St. Anthony

Maintaining the health of your kidneys is vital to your overall health. In the United States, roughly 33% of adults are at risk for kidney disease– that’s 1 in every three adults! Since kidney disease goes mostly undetected until it’s at an advanced stage, it’s crucial that you do everything you can to keep your kidneys in the best shape possible.  

As March is Kidney Awareness Month, now is a great time to check your lifestyle and daily habits to ensure your kidneys stay healthy. Take a look at just a few of the things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy: 

Medications and Antibiotics. Be careful with medication usage, especially antibiotics, and try not to overdo it. OTC (over-the-counter) medications like ibuprofen and naproxen, and other bacteria-fighting antibiotics can cause severe damage to your kidneys if you use them too often. Penicillin, sulfonamides, and cephalosporins are more likely to harm your kidneys than other antibiotics. Make sure you talk to your doctor about any health conditions you may have before starting any medications.

Diet. Since your kidneys process everything that you eat and drink, it’s essential to eat a healthy diet full of fruits, veggies, and whole grains to help prevent high blood pressure and diabetes, among other diseases. Additionally, try to avoid highly processed foods and products high in sodium. 

Activity and Fitness. Regular exercise can help prevent heart disease and diabetes, leading to further kidney damage. It’s also great for your heart and reduces your blood pressure! Just make sure you’re not starting heavy exercise after not exercising at all – too much exercise at once can damage your kidneys if you’re not careful. Aim for 30-60 minutes of activity five days a week – running, walking, biking, and even dancing are all great choices!

Weight. Obesity is another factor that could affect the health of your kidneys. Keeping a healthy diet and a fitness routine can help bring your weight down, lowering your risk for health conditions that can damage your kidneys.

Blood Pressure. Monitor your blood pressure when you can, as high blood pressure can signify kidney disease and other health problems. 120/80 is a healthy blood pressure reading, and anything above 140/90 is high. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower your blood pressure.

Smoking. Smoking is highly damaging to your blood vessels and can drastically slow your blood flow throughout your body. It can also put you at higher risk for cancer. Stopping smoking will lower your risk; however, it will take years before your risk is as low as someone who’s never smoked before.

Fluids. Drink plenty of water every day to keep your kidneys in good health. Eight glasses per day is a good goal, but remember, there’s no magic number. 1.5-2 liters per day is a good amount to help flush out sodium and other toxins in your body. You should also be careful with alcohol consumption, as four or more drinks in two hours can cause sudden damage that is hard to recover from. 

Testing/Screening. Visit your doctor to get screened and check on the health of your kidneys. That way, they can review previous health conditions, family history, high blood pressure, and other factors that may be affecting your health. Getting screened for kidney disease can also help you catch things early, keeping your treatment easy and your chances of recovery are high.

Visit St. Anthony’s Regional Hospital to help you keep your kidneys healthy. We are dedicated to improving the health of the people we serve, providing high-quality, high-value healthcare services responsive to the needs of our patients and the region. We offer a variety of health services so you can get the care you need when you need it. Visit our website to learn more, or call us at 712-792-3581 to schedule an appointment today.