Lifestyle changes to keep the kidneys in good health.
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 kidney disease. While fruits are healthy, people with kidney disease should include low-potassium fruits like apple, papaya, pears, guava, etc. in their diet to control the sugar level. Apples, strawberries, figs, capsicum and carrots are some foods which can be consumed by patients.
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 of blood pressure is important.
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: A majority of diabetic patients suffer kidney failure and need dialysis or organ transplant. It is, therefore, important to always keep blood sugar level in check.Regular 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. Consuming plenty of water and other fluids helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and other toxins from the 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, which reduces the blood flowing into kidneys. 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 salt substitutes, and food items with high salt content such as chutney, pickles, namkeen, papad etc.
Phosphorous alert: Consuming high-phosphorus foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy, nuts, beans, and cola-based drinks can lead to phosphorus imbalance in blood levels, lowering the blood calcium. This adversely impacts the health of kidneys.
Regular kidney function screening: People suffering from diabetes, hypertension or both, should get their kidneys screened regularly as part of routine care for early detection and prevention of kidney disease.