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Keeping The Kidneys Healthy
March 30, 2022
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs in the renal system. They help the body pass waste as urine. They also help filter blood before sending it back to the heart.
The kidneys perform many crucial functions, including:
- maintaining overall fluid balance
- regulating and filtering minerals from blood
- filtering waste materials from food, medications, and toxic substances
- creating hormones that help produce red blood cells, promote bone
Common Kidney Diseases
Chronic kidney disease
The most common form of kidney disease is chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease is a long-term condition that doesn’t improve over time. It’s commonly caused by high blood pressure.
Kidney function will eventually deteriorate to the point where the kidneys can no longer perform their job properly. In this case, a person would need to go on dialysis. Dialysis filters extra fluid and waste out of the blood. Dialysis can help treat kidney disease but it can’t cure it. A kidney transplant may be another treatment option depending on your circumstances.
Kidney stones are another common kidney problem. They occur when minerals and other substances in the blood crystallize in the kidneys, forming solid masses (stones). Kidney stones usually come out of the body during urination. Passing kidney stones can be extremely painful, but they rarely cause significant problems.
Polycystic kidney disease
Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that causes numerous cysts (small sacs of fluid) to grow in the kidneys. These cysts can interfere with kidney function and cause kidney failure. (It’s important to note that individual kidney cysts are fairly common and almost always harmless. Polycystic kidney disease is a separate, more serious condition.)
Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are bacterial infections of any part of the urinary system. Infections in the bladder and urethra are the most common. They are easily treatable and rarely lead to more health problems. However, if left untreated, these infections can spread to the kidneys and cause kidney failure.
Some risk factors for kidney disease — such as age, race, or family history — are impossible to control. However, there are measures you can take to help prevent kidney disease:
- drink plenty of water
- control blood sugar if you have diabetes
- control blood pressure
- reduce salt intake
- quit smoking
Be careful with over-the-counter drugs
You should always follow the dosage instructions for over-the-counter medications. Taking too much aspirin (Bayer) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can cause kidney damage. Call your doctor if the normal doses of these medications aren’t controlling your pain effectively.
Important Reminder: Any type of food supplement is not a medicine and cannot be used as a medicine for any type of disease.