Our kidneys work around the clock to keep our bodies functioning properly and to protect our overall health. “Kidneys are one of the most important organs in the body because they are involved in so many complex functions that are designed to protect our bodies,” says Luis Gimenez, MD, chief, division of nephrology at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital. These important organs remove from our system excess water and substances that might otherwise cause us harm. They also take care of our body by making sure we get the right amounts of sodium, phosphorus and potassium to keep us active and healthy.
Sometimes we can experience problems with our kidneys that are related to genetics, injuries or the effects of particular medications. When these issues arise, our health can be compromised and we may need treatment for kidney stones, cysts and other conditions.
That’s why we need take care of our kidneys, so that we can stay healthy and trouble-free. Here are 10 important steps you can take to give your kidneys the special care they need:
- Maintain the blood pressure level your doctor recommends for you.
- Be careful to control your blood glucose level, if you have diabetes.
- Keep your cholesterol level in a safe range.
- Be sure to take medications the way your doctor recommends.
- Use less salt when cooking and eating (less than 1,500 mg. per day is best).
- Choose heart-healthy foods including fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods.
- Keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum.
- Stay physically active throughout the year.
- Take steps to drop those extra pounds, if you are overweight.
- Get help in dropping the habit, if you smoke.
“These guidelines can not only help you to prevent kidney problems, but can also help those who may already have an existing kidney condition,” says Dr. Gimenez.
With these suggestions as part of your daily routine, and regular follow-up care with your primary care doctor and a nephrologist, you can protect your kidneys and the life-sustaining help they provide.