World Kidney Day: A Complete Guide to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
Representational image of kidneys
Chronic kidney disease is one of the leading causes of death globally. According to the World Health Organisation, the estimated prevalence of chronic kidney disease worldwide is 8-16 % in adults above 30 years of age. A study by the BioMed Central Nephrology Journal confirms that over 17% of the Indian population is affected by chronic kidney disease.
Commonly found in Indians, Diabetes, obesity and uncontrolled hypertension are major risk factors of kidney disorder. Stressful lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits also contribute to the disease. A balanced, healthy diet plays an important role in combating the major causes of chronic kidney disease. Consuming the right food in the right proportion can certainly help prevent the onset of kidney disease. With inputs from Dr Shyam Bihari Bansal, Director, Nephrology, Kidney and Urology Institute, Medanta-The Medicity, we have charted down a few do's and don'ts to maintain your kidney health:
Eat healthy: Consuming a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce one’s chance of developing diabetes, hypertension, and obesity thus reducing the kidney disease. While fruits are healthy, and patients without kidney disease can consume all fruits, but people with kidney disease should include low-potassium fruits like apple, papaya, pears, strawberries, guava, pineapple etc. in their diet.
Manage blood pressure: Hypertension puts people at a greater risk of kidney damage. This risk gets multiplied if one is diabetic. If one has a family history of hypertension or kidney disease, strict and constant monitoring and adequate treatment of blood pressure is essential to reduce the chances of kidney disease.
Exercise and live an active life: Regular exercise keeps cholesterol, blood pressure and the body weight in control. It also helps improves stamina while boosting immunity and decreasing inflammation in the body. Being overweight increases the risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are major risk factors for kidney disease.
Keep blood sugar levels in check: Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney disease worldwide and India also. Many diabetic patients suffer kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant. It is, therefore, important to always keep blood sugar level in check. Regular testing of urine for albumin and kidney function tests are also recommended to detect any anomaly early.
Maintain a healthy fluid intake: Drinking sufficient water is vital for a healthy body. Optimal fluid intake for a person depends on several factors such as climatic conditions, physical activity and body type and, should generally be in proportion to their sodium intake.
Quit harmful habits: People with excessive drinking and smoking habits are more prone to kidney ailments. Smoking damages blood vessels. It also increases the risk of hypertension as well as kidney cancer.
Consuming excessive sodium: The recommended intake of salt in patients with hypertension and chronic kidney disease is 4-5 gm/day (approximately 1 teaspoon). Excessive consumption of salt can lead to an increase in blood pressure which can adversely impact kidneys. Therefore, one should avoid food items with high salt content such as chutney, pickles, namkeen, papad, fast food and processed foods etc.
Taking excessive pain killers like diclofenac, nimesulide, ibuprofen etc. might adversely affect kidneys. Consumption of certain herbal medicines especially those with heavy metals can also cause kidney damage.