Kidneys are vital organs in the body responsible for removing the toxins and waste products out of the body in the form of “urine”. It is also responsible to maintain the electrolyte and water fluid levels within the required range. In short, kidneys help in filtering the blood before it is sent to the heart for circulation. Apart from the filtration, kidneys are also responsible for the formation of certain hormones required for the well-being of the human body. Several diseases cause harms to the kidneys and may lead to kidney dysfunction. Diabetes and hypertension being on the top of the list in the older age group while kidney stones being common in younger age group. According to a report published in 2017, “Pakistan ranks 8th in kidney diseases causing 20,000 deaths annually.” Here are a few steps which may help in maintaining the functional health of kidneys naturally.
1. Good Hydration
Good water intake helps in flushing off the toxins from the body and keeps the kidneys healthy. Low water intake not only leads to kidney infections but also increases the risk of formation of renal stones. Recommended water intake for men is 3-4litres of water per day while for women 2.5 to 3 liters is considered good.
2. Add Antioxidants & Vitamins in Your Diet
Kidney function is also hindered by presence of inflammation in the blood vessels present in kidneys. Natural antioxidants found in fresh fruits and vegetables help in doing away with this inflammation and maintaining good blood flow to the kidneys. Moreover certain vitamins specifically help in keeping the kidneys healthy. Following are highly recommended vitamins: a. Omega-3: Omega -6 fatty acids lead to formation of kidney stones and addition of omega 3 fatty acids remove omega 6 fatty acids. Hence indirectly avoiding the formation of kidney stones. b. Potassium citrate: It helps in maintaining the Ph. of urine and avoids formation of kidney stones. c. B6 vitamin: It helps in avoiding formation of oxalate renal stones.
3. Good Control Of Blood Pressure
One of the major causes of chronic kidney disease in older people is uncontrolled blood pressure (hypertension). Maintaining blood pressure within normal range (Systolic <140, diastolic <90) avoids renal damage and keeps the kidneys in good health. Regular monitoring of blood pressure and reduced salt intake helps in this regard to a great extent.
4. Maintain Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetes tops the list of causes of chronic kidney disease. Uncontrolled blood sugar for years may lead to permanent damage of the kidneys and end stage kidney disease. Hence proper blood sugar control through medications and dietary control plays a vital role in this regard.
5. Regular Exercise
Excessive weight and obesity is another cause of kidney failure as these burdens kidneys to put more effort in filtration of the blood. Regular exercise helps in maintaining body weight within normal limits. Plus regular exercise increases blood circulation of the body and helps in maintaining good circulation to the kidneys as well. Moreover regular walk helps in maintaining blood glucose levels that further more avoids the damage caused by diabetes to renal function.
6. Quit Smoking
Smoking affects all the vital organs including the kidneys. It causes damage to the blood vessels leading to reduced blood flow to the kidneys directly affecting the renal function. Hence doing away with smoking surely helps in maintaining good renal function.
7. Avoid Self-Medication
Increased use of over the counter pain killers like NSAIDs- Ibuprofen, Naproxen causes renal damage. Hence avoiding self-medication may help in keeping your kidneys healthy.
Furthermore, to keep your kidneys functional and healthier in the long run it is always a good practice to visit and go for regular checkup to a urologist once every few months.