6 Steps to Healthier Kidneys

Step 1 - Know the Facts:

6 things healthy kidneys do: 

  • Regulate the body’s fluid level
  • Filter wastes and toxins from the blood
  • Release a hormone that regulates blood pressure
  • Activate Vitamin D to maintain healthy bones
  • Release the hormone that directs production of RBC
  • Keep blood minerals in balance (Na, Phos, K)

8 Problems Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) can cause:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Weak bones
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Kidney failure (ESRD)
  • Anemia
  • Death

Step 2 - Assess your Risk: 

  • 4 Main Risk Factors:  Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Disease, Family History of Kidney Disease/Diabetes/High Blood Pressure
  • 10 Additional Risk Factors: African American Heritage, Native American Heritage, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander Heritage, Age >60, Obesity, Low Birth Weight, Prolonged use of NSAIDs, Lupus and Other Autoimmune Disorders, Chronic UTIs, Kidney Stones

Step 3 - Possible Trouble Signs:

Most people with early CKD have no symptoms, which is why early testing is critical. By the time symptoms appear, CKD may be advanced, and symptoms can be misleading. Pay attention to these:  fatigue/weakness, difficult/painful urination, foamy urine, pink or dark urine, increased need to urinate, puffy eyes, swollen face/hands/abdomen/ankles/feet, increased thirst.

Step 4 - Get Tested:

4 Simple Tests: Blood Pressure, Protein in the Urine, Creatinine in Blood, Glomerular Filtration Rate

Step 5 - Stay Healthy:

6 Things People with CKD should do: 

  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Keep blood sugar levels under control, if diabetic
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Avoid NSAIDs (painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen)
  • Moderate protein consumption
  • Get an annual flu shot

9 Things Everyone should do:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Control weight
  • Follow a balanced diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink only in moderation
  • Stay hydrated
  • Monitor cholesterol levels
  • Get an annual physical
  • Know your family medical history

Step 6 - Learn More:

  • Do you need a kidney health check? KEEP HEALTHY- NKF offers free kidney health checks in communities across the country.  A screening will be offered in Charleston on Sat, March 20th from 9am-1pm at Mt. Moria Baptist Church in North Charleston.
  • To learn more about CKD risk factors, prevention and treatment, visit www.kidney.org