World Kidney Day: 8 golden rules for keeping your kidneys kicking 47



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What can you do for your kidneys? Kidney diseases are silent killers, which will largely affect your quality of life. There are however several easy ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease. In Australia, over 60s are particularly at risk of developing kidney disease, so it is more important than ever as we age to make sure these vital organs are in check.

So how can you do this? Here’s 8 golden rules of keeping your kidneys kicking:

1. Keep fit and active

Keeping fit helps to reduce your blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease.

The concept “on the move for kidney health” is a worldwide collective march involving the public, celebrities and professionals moving across a public area by walking, running and cycling. Why not join them – by whatever means you prefer!


2. Keep regular control of your blood sugar level

About half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage, so it is important for people with diabetes to have regular tests to check their kidney functions.

Kidney damage from diabetes can be reduced or prevented if detected early. It is important to keep control of blood sugar levels with the help of doctors or pharmacists, who are always happy to help.


3. Monitor your blood pressure

Although many people may be aware that high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, few know that it is also the most common cause of kidney damage.

The normal blood pressure level is 120/80. Between this level and 139/89, you are considered prehypertensive and should adopt lifestyle and dietary changes. At 140/90 and above, you should discuss the risks with your doctor and montior your blood pressure level regularly. High blood pressure is especially likely to cause kidney damage when associated with other factors like diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular Diseases.


4. Eat healthy and keep your weight in check

This can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease.

Reduce your salt intake. The recommended sodium intake is 5-6 grams of salt per day (around a teaspoon). In order to reduce your salt intake, try and limit the amount of processed and restaurant food and do not add salt to food. It will be easier to control your intake if you prepare the food yourself with fresh ingredients. For more information on nutrition and kidney friendly cooking, visit our nutrition page.


5. Maintain a healthy fluid intake

Although clinical studies have not reached an agreement on the ideal quantity of water and other fluids we should consume daily to maintain good health, traditional wisdom has long suggested drinking 1.5 to 2 litres (3 to 4 pints) of water per day.

Consuming plenty of fluid helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body which, in turn, results in a “significantly lower risk” of developing chronic kidney disease, according to researchers in Australia and Canada. The findings, the researchers said, do not advocate “aggressive fluid loading”, which can cause side effects, but they do provide evidence that moderately increased water intake, around two litres daily, may reduce the risk of decline in kidney function. It’s important to keep in mind that the right level of fluid intake for any individual depends on many factors including gender, exercise, climate, health conditions, pregnancy and breast feeding. In addition, people who have already had a kidney stone are advised to drink 2 to 3 litres of water daily to lessen the risk of forming a new stone.


6. Do not smoke

Smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. When less blood reaches the kidneys, it impairs their ability to function properly. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50 per cent.


7. Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis

Common drugs such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly.

Such medications probably do not pose significant danger if your kidneys are relatively healthy and you use them for emergencies only, but if you are dealing with chronic pain, such as arthritis or back pain, work with your doctor to find a way to control your pain without putting your kidneys at risk.


8. Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the ‘high risk’ factors

  • you have diabetes
  • you have hypertension
  • you are obese
  • one of your parents or other family members suffers from kidney disease
  • you are of African, Asian, or Aboriginal origin


Take the Check Your Kidneys test to see how healthy your kidneys are, here

Originally published on the World Kidney Day website.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I have blood in my urine..I have no idea why and I don’t want to know. I am fed up with finding out things that are going haywire with I will just ignore it an maybe it will go away

    21 REPLY
    • NO!! Libbi, it won’t just go away, you need to go & have it seen to, it may be nothing but you need to see your doctor, even if it’s only for your own peace of mind, don’t you have a son?…what would he say if he knew?…He’d say, Mum go & have it looked at please!!!

    • yes but look I am really getting fed up with this old age rubbish and everything breaking down..ok I will go the doc

    • I know it’s hard Libbi, we’re all going through the same thing, seems like every week something else is hurting or packing in, but as my lovely Dad used to say, Make the most of it kiddo because your dead for a bloody long time.

    • I’m fed up too Libbi, it’s like a never ending saga for some of us, but it could be something that can be fixed in a short time. Good luck.

    • You get one thing fixed and then something else goes wrong its a pain in you know what…it might not be serious bit you should go ..good luck

    • Ive had one problem after another…surgeries etc….you get back up and carry on……I find something I love doing and throw myself into it…..takes my mind of everything.

    • No no no Libbi. I had blood in my urine and had kidney cancer so minus my right kidney now. Please get it investigated. Any show of blood should be seen to at once.

    • That is great to hear, but you have to follow through now because we are all worrying about you & want to know whats the matter. See you didn’t know so many people could care about a complete stranger did you 🙂

    • I’m glad you took action and made an appointment with your doc, in the meantime suggest drink one litre of water everyday. The doc will send you for pathology test before prescribing any medicine. Without knowing the ceratin level do not buy any over the counter medicine, stick to plain water till next week. Good luck!

    • I think that’s what I like the best about this site Maree, I know we are all strangers on here & we all have different opinions, & speak them quite loudly at times

    • Libbi…..take a friend with you to the doctor. If I lived near you, I would go with you. Please let us all know the results! Big hugs from us all!

    • Glad you’re getting it checked Libbi I also had blood in my urine & I had a kidney stone which I had to have surgically removed please let us know how you get on thinking of you take care…

    • A simple urine test will confirm an infection, then a course of antibiotics to fix it! All the best Libbi

  2. Ooh Libby. Don’t ignore this please. Kidneys are our most vital organs alongside the heart. It could be something easily sorted like a urinary infection. My philosophy is catch it quick! A bit like the old -A stitch in time saves nine. I know it can be frustrating when things go wrong, but do care about yourself. Make that appointment today and may it be sorted out quick smart.

    1 REPLY
  3. We have ‘dodgy’ kidneys in our family, mine played up when I was pregnant or if I put too much strain on my body. I just try and lead a healthy life-style and hope they let me live to a grand old age..;-)

  4. Please remember there are people desperate for kidney donors please talk to family about this.

  5. I have had blood in my urine for over 40 years still here and they don ‘t know why?! But Drs mentioned this is the norm with some people causing no harm.

  6. Blood in your urine can mean you dont drink enough water or fluids
    To get it checkef
    People are dying because of not enough donors so look after them

  7. We are about to go thru this with our new grandson yet to be born. Why do they have to wait 3 days before they put him on dialysis?

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