Kidney Month Brings Awareness

Many of us have grown up with our mothers advising us to drink more water and to put down the canned, crisp, sugary goodness of soda. At the dinner table, they would catch our hands before we poured an obscene amount of salt on our potatoes. And of course, they would teach us to “Just Say No” to drugs and alcohol. As children, we thought we knew what was best for our bodies but maybe the nagging words of our mothers was for a greater intended purpose-to save our kidneys.

March is National Kidney Month and today, March 10th is World Kidney Day. Many of us don’t have a strong appreciation for the pair of bean-shaped organs located on the right and left side of our abdomens but in order to gain a new sense of gratitude for what kidneys do for our bodies, the National Kidney Foundation lists the “Top 10 Reasons To Love Your Kidneys”:

1. Filter 200 liters of blood a day, removing two liters of toxins, wastes and water

2. Regulate the body’s water balance

3. Regulate blood pressure by controlling fluid levels and making the hormone that causes blood vessels to constrict

4.  Support healthy bones and tissues by producing the active form of vitamin D

5. Produce the hormone that stimulates bone marrow to manufacture red blood cells

6. Keep blood minerals in balance

7. Keep electrolytes in balance

8. Regulate blood acid levels

9. Remove drugs from the blood

10. Retrieve essential nutrients so that the body can reabsorb them

In order to keep our kidneys working properly, the Better Health Channel advises us to maintain a healthy blood pressure level, exercise, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. And if you have diabetes, are obese, over 50 years of age, have a family history of kidney disease, smoke, or are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you’re more at risk.

When we don’t take care of our kidneys, there are several types of kidney diseases we can be diagnosed with. Among many are nephritis –kidney disease due to inflammation, kidney failure, chronic renal insufficiency, and chronic kidney disease –kidney damage and decreased function lasting longer than three months. If you experience any of the following  symptoms see a doctor as you may be experiencing the onset of kidney disease:

–       Change in frequency and quantity of urine passed

–       Blood in urine

–       Foaming urine

–       Puffiness around the eyes and ankles

–       Pain in back

–       Pain or burning when passing urine

For more information about how to care for your kidneys, kidney disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, go to:

http://www.kidney.org/

http://www.medicinenet.com/kidney_failure/article.htm

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Kidney_disease_prevention

 

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