Understanding Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Despite how a person might feel mentally, as the birthdays pass, the human body needs more attention and specialized care. It becomes even more important to exercise, eat right, drink plenty of water, and do all the right things to preserve the body functions that keep us going on a daily basis.
Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are great ways to contribute to brain and heart health, but what about kidney function? Drinking enough water goes a long way to protect our kidneys, but there are other things we can do as well.
Why Kidneys Matter
The kidneys work hard to keep the human body healthy and functioning correctly. They work to keep the bloodstream free from disease by filtering out dangerous toxins, as well as keeping everything balanced by eliminating excess fluids and minerals the body doesn’t need. Due to the fact that kidneys are responsible for balancing fluids, they are also vital to maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Because their function includes both filtering blood and eliminating waste products and fluid from the body by way of the urinary system, kidneys tend to be affected by just about anything that goes wrong – including inflammation caused by the immune response to virus or bacteria, ingesting toxins, erratic blood pressure, etc. This is why it’s imperative to pay attention to kidney health and do everything possible to protect kidney function.
When Kidneys Fail
When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, any number of other things can go wrong. The body’s electrolytes can become imbalanced, tissues may start retaining fluid, and this is likely to cause a spike in blood pressure.
There are several symptoms to watch for, and if you begin experiencing any of them, it is recommended that you contact your doctor immediately to have your kidney health evaluated.
- Feeling tired or weak for no apparent reason
- Difficulty concentrating or feeling confused
- Trouble sleeping despite maintaining a regular sleep schedule
- Feeling nauseated
- Decreased appetite or losing weight without trying
- Increased thirst and water intake
- Widespread itching all over
It’s important to contact your doctor about any of these symptoms, particularly if you have more than one. If you are experiencing kidney issues, the sooner they are addressed, the better.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
When your kidneys begin to function less efficiently, or in the early stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD), it’s important to give them the special attention they need to prevent further damage. Late-stage CKD results from long-term, gradual loss of kidney function. It can cause secondary health issues including increased risk for high blood pressure, anemia, heart disease, and other serious conditions. There are treatments available for CKD including medication – however, lifestyle changes and healthy habits are the best therapies.
Caring for Your Kidneys
Kidney disease can strike at any age, but certain people are considered to be at higher risk for developing kidney problems. If it runs in your family or if you have been diagnosed with other conditions, which are known risk factors, including diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease, or obesity, speak with your physician about your concerns. Additionally, consider the following tips to begin creating healthy habits and a healthier lifestyle – your kidneys will thank you.
The recommended amount of water for daily intake is generally said to be half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water, or 9 glasses of water per day. However, if you have been diagnosed with advanced CKD, consult your physician for your recommended daily intake of water.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A balanced diet is key to kidney health, and increasing your vegetable intake also helps increase your water intake. Stay away from processed foods and drinks, as they tend to be full of chemicals your kidneys have to work to filter out.
Try to get a minimum of 32 minutes of exercise three days per week, if not more often. Not only is this good for your overall health, but it also helps your kidneys do their job.
Limit Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is also something your kidneys have to process, so go easy on them. Keep in mind this applies to coffee, tea, energy drinks, and certain over the counter pain medications.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Extra weight makes your kidneys work harder to do their job – losing weight puts less stress on them and decreases the amount of filtering they need to do.
Smoking damages your body in several ways, constricting blood vessels and decreasing blood flow to your vital organs – including the kidneys.
Home & Hearth Cares
If you or a loved one are dealing with kidney issues and would like more information on proper kidney care please visit the National Kidney Foundation or reach out to your physician. If your loved one needs help at home due to kidney disease or any other condition, our home care experts in Orland Park are here to help with reliable senior care services.