By Catholic Review Staff
Chronic kidney disease, the decreased ability to filter the blood of toxins produced on a daily basis by the body, is estimated to be present in about 20 million Americans, according to Dr. Robert Greenwell Jr., chief of nephrology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
During National Kidney Month, Greenwell shares some tips for maintaining healthy kidney function.
Obesity is a risk factor directly for kidney failure. The overweight individual has kidneys that are required to filter an excessive amount of blood. This can lead to kidney scarring and worsening function over time. Obesity is also a significant contributor to the development of diabetes. Diabetes causes kidney disease in about 40 percent of patients, the majority of whom will go on to need dialysis.
Regular physician contact
Recognizing situations that can lead to kidney failure, as well as recognizing the early symptoms of kidney disease, are issues that can be noted soonest by the patient’s primary physician.
Smoking has adverse effects on blood circulation and maintaining non-blocked arteries. Kidney artery blockage can lead to kidney failure. HIV disease and hepatitis are causes of kidney disease. Avoiding drug use and casual sexual relations can lessen the likelihood of these issues occurring.
High blood pressure
Hypertension is a major cause of kidney failure. Hypertension control is also the foundation for slowing the worsening in kidney failure once it begins. Improvement in blood pressure is shown to occur with a reduced salt diet, increased potassium diet, weight loss and a reduction in alcohol intake. Following these suggestions can help control blood pressure more effectively and lessen the need for prescription blood pressure medicines.