By. Mourad M. Alsabbagh at DHR Health Transplant Institute
Kidneys are vital to our overall health, we recommend 6 simple lifestyle steps to keep them in good health.
1. Stay hydrated – Drinking plenty of fluid helps kidneys function. Urine should be straw-colored. If it’s dark it may be a sign of dehydration. During hot weather, when traveling in hot countries or when exercising strenuously, we need to drink more water.
2. Eat healthily – A balanced diet ensures you get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, and grains, do not eat too much salty or fatty food.
3. Watch for Hypertension (HTN) and check for Diabetes (DM) – Hypertension (HTN) and Diabetes Mellitus (DM) are the most common reasons for kidney disease.
Check your blood pressure (BP) regularly. HTN has no symptoms, but it can increase your risk of kidney and heart problems. Check your BP at your Primary Care Physician (PCP) office or pharmacy. If your BP is high, your PCP can suggest lifestyle changes or, if necessary, prescribe medication. An ideal BP is between 100-120/60-80mmHg
Diabetes can be asymptomatic, it develops especially in patients with obesity or a strong family history of DM. We recommend checking fasting glucose with your PCP and checking HbA1C. Fasting glucose needs to be below 126 in 2 visits and HbA1C below 5.7%.
It is very important that you control your DM and HTN. If levels are not controlled, your PCP should refer you to a kidney specialist (Nephrologist) early. Once referred to a nephrologist, you can work on a plan to help slow down the kidney damage from HTN & DM.
4. Do not smoke or drink too much alcohol – Stop smoking completely and limit your alcohol intake. Drinking and smoking both raise your blood pressure, which is one of the most common causes of kidney disease.
5. Keep slim to help your kidneys – Being too heavy raises your BP which is bad for your kidneys. Try to keep yourself at a healthy weight by keeping active. Body mass index (BMI) is a helpful way of checking your healthy weight. Use the healthy weight calculator to check your BMI; Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like walking, cycling, or swimming every week.
6. Don’t Overdo Certain Medications – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and Naproxen can damage kidneys if you take too many or use them too often. Using proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for an ulcer or GERD for a long period of time can cause kidney disease, take them only if your doctor recommended them.
To learn more about your kidney health, kidney donation, and /or a transplant, please contact DHR Health Transplant Institute at (956) 362-5433. Our experts are available to help guide you through the process of improving your kidney health.