10 ways to protect your kidneys

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Image: http://drugitalas.org/keep-kidneys-healthy/

†by Dr. Willie T. Ong

1. Limit your salt intake – Too much salt is not only bad for your blood pressure, it’s also bad for your kidneys. Many die of kidney disease, which can be partly attributed to a high salt intake and fondness for fish sauce, soy sauce, plain salt, and salted fish. Even instant noodles, chips, and nuts are teeming with salt. The problem with salt is that it encourages the body to retain water, and can increase your blood pressure (which damages the kidneys).

2. Don’t load up on high protein foods such as meat and steaks –A high protein diet makes the kidneys work twice as hard. Pretty soon, your kidneys could get tired and some of the weaker kidney cells can die. A friendly reminder to people on a high-protein Atkin’s Diet or South Beach Diet: the time-tested doctor’s advice of moderation in everything will serve you well. Eat a balanced diet of rice, vegetables, fish, and fruits and you can’t go wrong.

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Image: http://www.why-philippines.com/84/health-care-in-philippines/

3. Keep your blood pressure at 130/80 or lower – If your blood pressure is above 140 over 90, this can cause kidney damage within five years. The kidneys are said to be “happiest” with a blood pressure of 130/80 or lower. To help control your blood pressure, you should limit your salt intake, reduce weight and take medicines for high blood pressure, if needed.

4. Keep your blood sugar below 120 mg/dl – Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney failure. A person with uncontrolled diabetes for 5-10 years may develop significant kidney damage. Consult your doctor and keep your blood sugar under control with diet, exercise and maintenance medicines.

5. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.

6. Watch your intake of pain relievers and other drugs – Taking pain relievers like mefenamic acid, ibuprofen, and the coxibs (like celecoxib) for a prolonged period of time may cause kidney damage. Because of this, we should limit taking these medicines.

7. Be careful with tests and procedures using contrast dyes – Some tests, like CT Scans and MRIs, and angiograms, use a contrast dye which helps doctors delineate the organs better. The problem with such dyes is that they can cause kidney damage. To be safe, I would strongly advise you to consult a kidney specialist before undergoing such procedures.

8. Don’t drink too much Vitamin C – Excess vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can lead to the formation of kidney stones in predisposed individuals. If you need to take vitamin C, a dose of 500 mg or less is safer.

9. Don’t rely on food supplements to protect your kidneys.

10. Get a kidney check-up – Simple tests, such as a complete blood count, BUN and creatinine, and a urinalysis are the first screening tests for the kidneys. Finding a trace of protein in the urine can alert the doctor of possible kidney disease.

Bottomline is: Kidney diseases are expensive and difficult to treat. Let’s take the necessary steps to protect our kidneys today.

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