I think it’s safe to say that a lot us take our kidneys for granted. Even the medical community seems to be guilty of it. I mean, how many campaigns have you seen advising you to protect your kidneys?
It seems our hearts are always getting all the attention. But then again, maybe that’s not such a bad thing… because according to one recent review, the same strategies you use to prevent cardiovascular disease could help keep your kidneys safe, too.
Cut kidney risk by 25 percent
This research team found that lifestyle plays a major role in preventing chronic kidney disease. And that there are a number of simple recommendations you can follow to keep your kidneys healthy.
Not surprisingly, this review showed that a higher intake of potassium and vegetables, and a lower intake of sodium-packed processed and fast foods, reduced the risk of kidney disease. As did regular exercise, moderate drinking, and not smoking.
- Higher potassium intake cut risk by 22 percent.
- Increasing veggie intake cut risk by 21 percent.
- Regular exercise (30 minutes daily) cut risk by 18 percent.
- Moderate alcohol intake (one to four drinks daily) cut risk by 13 percent.
- Smoking raised risk by 18 percent.
Sounds simple, right? Well, as it turns out, these five “rules” could slash your risk of chronic kidney disease by nearly 25 percent.
Don’t wait for trouble
These researchers make a point of noting that this advice only applies to healthy people who might be at risk for kidney trouble. (If you already have kidney disease, you’ll have to do more to keep your kidney function on track.)
But, to my point… no one seems to worry too much about their kidneys. So maybe we should be teaching people why they matter.
After all, your kidneys are your body’s filtration system. Most anything you ingest will end up excreted through the kidneys. They help your body remove toxins and control your blood pressure. And those are just two critical functions off the top of my head.
Needless to say, you want them in tip–top shape. And luckily, knowing whether they’re working at their best is pretty easy.
First, at your next physical, be sure your doctor runs a routine blood panel to look at your estimated glomerular filtration rate (or eGFR). This measures creatinine (a waste product) in the blood. (This is the best test of kidney function, as it determines how well your kidneys are working to remove waste from your blood.) Your age, race, and gender should also be factored into the calculation. But, in general, results between 100 and 130 are considered normal.
You’ll also want an ordinary urinalysis to look for too much albumin in your urine—an early sign of kidney disease. All it takes is a urine sample. Normal levels are between 0 and 3.
In the meantime, start taking the five simple steps I listed above today. Before trouble starts to brew.
P.S. Roughly one in 10 people will suffer from kidney stones in their lifetime. And according to recent research, the numbers have been rising steadily in recent years… with no sign of stopping anytime soon. That’s why I tackle how to stop kidney stones before they start in the July 2018 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“URGENT ALERT: It’s kidney stone season”). Not yet a subscriber? All it takes is one click to become one!
“These lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease.” Science Daily, 09/02/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200902095136.htm)