World Kidney Day is celebrated on the second Thursday of March every year across the globe, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of our kidneys to health, and educating people on how to reduce risks of developing kidney ailments. This year’s theme is ‘Kidney Health for All’, and provides a great opportunity to draw public attention to the need for kidney health.
Chronic kidney disease affects millions of people around the globe, and is a major health concern. Approximately 1 in 10 people have been diagnosed with CKD – those that are affected with it lead difficult lives, and eventually need dialysis or transplantation to survive. By taking steps to live a healthy lifestyle, this can help to reduce the risk of kidney disease. Early detection and treatment can prevent or slow down the progression of kidney disease.
To celebrate World Kidney Day this year, here are a few lifestyle choices and measures to keep our kidneys healthy.
Controlling blood sugar levels: Diabetes is one of the biggest risk factors of developing kidney disease, therefore it is important to keep your sugar levels controlled well. Those that have diabetes should have regular kidney function tests to detect any damage. If detected early, kidney damage from diabetes can be reduced or prevented.
Managing blood pressure: Hypertension (high blood pressure) is another risk factor of developing kidney damage. If you have a family history of high blood pressure and kidney disease, then be sure to control your blood pressure, by living a healthy lifestyle and sticking to medication.
Regular exercise: Living a sedentary life makes us prone to developing a large number of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. Keep exercising regularly to manage cholesterol and most importantly, your weight – as being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, which are the main two risk factors of kidney disease.
Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy fluid intake: Enjoy a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to keep you safe. It is also wise to reduce your salt intake and cut down on processed and packaged foods, sugar sweetened drinks and red meat. Also, drink plenty of water, which will help clear your kidneys of sodium, urea and other toxins in the body.
Quit drinking and smoking: Avoid alcohol or drink in moderation. If you are a smoker, it is best to quit smoking. Ask doctors for advice on how to do so.
Western Hospital provides comprehensive care and treatment for kidney disease patients.