The kidneys are fist – sized organs located at the bottom of the rib cage on both sides of your spine . They perform several functions , including filtering waste products , excess water and other impurities from the blood. These waste products are then stored in the bladder and later expelled through urine.
In addition , the kidneys regulate the pH, salt and potassium levels in the body . They also produce hormones that regulate blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells.
The kidneys are also responsible for activating a form of vitamin D that helps the body absorb calcium for building bones and regulating muscle function .
Sadly , kidney disease is one of the world ’s major public health problems and more than 100, 000 new cases are recorded annually in Nigeria , according to data from the College of Medicine , University of Ibadan .
Also, statistics from the Nigerian Association of Nephrology showed that 25 million Nigerians are suffering from kidney failure, meaning a condition where the kidney can no longer work without dialysis or transplant .
Therefore, maintaining kidney health is important to your overall health and general well – being. By keeping your kidneys healthy , the body will filter and expel waste properly and produce hormones to help your body function properly.
Here are some tips to keep your kidneys healthy .
Be active and fit
Regular exercise is good for more than just your waistline.
It can lower the risk of chronic kidney disease . It can also reduce your blood pressure and boost your heart health , which are both important in preventing kidney damage .
You don’ t have to run marathons to reap the reward of exercise . Walking , running , cycling and even dancing are great for your health. Find any activity that keeps you busy and have fun . It will be easier to stick to it and have great results.
Control your blood sugar
People with diabetes or a condition that causes high blood sugar may develop kidney damage . When your body ’s cells can ’t use the glucose ( sugar) in your blood, your kidneys are forced to work extra hard to filter your blood. Over years of exertion , this can lead to life -threatening damage .
However, if you can control your blood sugar, you reduce the risk of damage . Also, if the damage is caught early , your doctor can take steps to reduce or prevent additional damage .
Monitor blood pressure
High blood pressure can cause kidney damage . If high blood pressure occurs with other health issues like diabetes , heart disease or high cholesterol , the impact on your body can be significant .
A healthy blood pressure reading is 120 / 80 . Pre – hypertension is between that point and 139 / 89 . Lifestyle and dietary changes may help lower your blood pressure at this point .
If your blood pressure readings are consistently above 140/ 90 , you may have high blood pressure . You should talk with your doctor about monitoring your blood pressure regularly , making changes to your lifestyle and possibly taking medication .
Monitor your weight and eat a healthy diet
People who are overweight or obese are at risk for a number of health conditions that can damage the kidneys . These include diabetes , heart disease , and kidney disease .
A healthy diet that ’s low in sodium , processed meats , and other kidney-damaging foods may help reduce the risk of kidney damage . Focus on eating fresh ingredients that are naturally low -sodium , such as cauliflower, blueberries , fish , whole grains , and more.
Drink plenty of fluids
There ’s no magic behind the cliché advice to drink eight glasses of water a day , but it ’ s a good goal precisely because it encourages you to stay hydrated . Regular , consistent water intake is healthy for your kidneys .
Water helps clear sodium and toxins from your kidneys . It also lowers your risk of chronic kidney disease .
Aim to drink at least 1 . 5 to 2 litres of water in a day . Exactly how much water you need depends largely on your health and lifestyle . Factors like climate , exercise , gender , overall health and whether or not you ’re pregnant or breastfeeding are important to consider when planning your daily water intake .
People who have previously had kidney stones should drink a bit more water to help prevent stone deposits in the future.
Smoking damages your body ’s blood vessels . This leads to slower blood flow throughout your body and to your kidneys . Smoking also puts your kidneys at an increased risk of cancer. If you stop smoking, your risk will drop . However, it will take many years to return to the risk level of a person who has never smoked .
Be careful of excessive intake of certain drugs
If you regularly take over -the -counter pain medications , you may be causing damage to your kidneys gradually . Non- steroidal anti -inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can damage your kidneys if you take them regularly for chronic pain , headache or arthritis .
People with no kidney issues who take the medicine occasionally are likely safe. However, talk with your doctor about kidney-safe treatments if you feel pain regularly .
Also, remember to have regular kidney tests , especially if you are obese; over 60 years old ; or if your family has a history of high blood pressure .