Over the last 20 years, the number of Canadians being treated for kidney failure has tripled. Currently, an estimated 2.6 million Canadians have, or are at risk for, kidney disease and those with diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney disease or those 60 years of age or older have a higher risk than most. Our kidneys play a very important role. They filter blood, approximately 180 litres each day, in order to produce urine, which allows for the elimination of waste. They also keep blood composition stable, control the production of red blood cells, release hormones that regulate blood pressure, produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong bones, balance the fluids in your body and more. So, it’s important to keep them in good working condition. Here’s what you can do to help reduce your risk:
- STAY HYDRATED: Hydration is important for a number of reasons, including kidney health. Make sure that you drink enough water (about 4 to 6 glasses each day, more if you are exercising or sweating lot). This can keep your kidneys functioning properly and reduce the risk of kidney stones. It’s also important to limit your intake of alcohol. Not only does alcohol restrict your kidneys’ ability to work correctly, drinking too much alcohol can also lead to a number of health conditions (high blood pressure, liver disease, etc.) which can make your kidneys have to work harder.
- EAT A HEALTHY DIET: A healthy diet is crucial for a healthy body, and this includes your kidneys. Eating a diet of whole, non-processed foods helps you control your weight and blood pressure, which keeps your kidneys in good working condition. High blood pressure damages your kidneys over time. Reducing the amount of sodium that you eat is crucial. Most Canadians eat too much sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure and a number of other health issues.
- EXERCISE REGULARLY: Regular exercise improves your body’s overall health and helps manage your blood pressure, which is great for your kidneys. If you’re not currently exercising and need another reason to get started, protecting your kidneys is a very good one.
- QUIT SMOKING: Smoking damages blood vessels, which reduces the flow of blood to your kidneys. This, in turn, prevents them from functioning properly. As with starting an exercise program above, if you need another reason to quit smoking, protecting your kidneys is a very good one.
- USE SUPPLEMENTS MODERATELY: Large amounts of some vitamins and supplements can be harmful to your kidneys. Before taking any large quantities of vitamins or other supplements, it’s important to talk to a qualified health professional.
- GET REGULAR HEALTH CHECKS: Regular health checks ups are important. There are often no symptoms of kidney disease or failure until the situation becomes quite advanced so, for this reason, regular screenings are important so that you can detect potential issues early on.
If you need help with developing a kidney friendly exercise or nutrition program, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.