2/23/2013 9:58:00 PM Kidneys filter your blood - keep them healthy
Yavapai Regional Medical Center
Your kidneys have an important job to do. They filter your blood and help waste and extra water leave your body. When kidneys aren't working well, waste can build up in the blood and hurt your body's ability to function.
Because there are no symptoms of early kidney disease, you may not even know you have it. And if kidney disease progresses or gets worse without treatment, it can lead to kidney failure. Someone with kidney failure usually needs to have dialysis (when a machine is used to clean and filter blood several times a week) or a kidney transplant.
Are you at risk?
Having high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or a family history of kidney failure can raise your risk for getting kidney disease.
Do you have high blood pressure? Controlling high blood pressure and reducing the salt in your diet can help keep your kidneys healthy. For tips on controlling high blood pressure, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's website: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/index.html
Do you have diabetes? Managing your diabetes and keeping blood sugar levels under control can help protect your kidneys. For tips on managing diabetes, visit the National Diabetes Education Program's website: www.ndep.nih.gov
Do you have heart disease? Keeping your heart healthy can also help your kidneys stay healthy. For tips on preventing and managing heart disease, visit the American Heart Association's website: www.heart.org/gettinghealthy
Talk to your doctor to learn more about managing health conditions you may have.
A simple test
Kidney disease can be treated and managed when it is detected early. That's why it's important to be screened for kidney disease. All it takes is a simple blood and urine test to check for kidney disease. People at risk for kidney disease should talk to their doctor about getting tested every year.
10 ways to protect your kidneys
The National Kidney Disease Education Program suggests these tips for protecting your kidneys:
1. Control high blood pressure.
2. Keep your blood glucose levels in the target range if you have diabetes.
3. Keep your cholesterol levels in the target range.
4. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods.
5. Cut back on salt in your diet.
6. Limit beverages containing alcohol.
7. If you smoke, make a plan to quit.
8. Be physically active and maintain your ideal weight.
9. Take your medicines as prescribed.
10. See your doctor for regular checkups, and ask about getting your blood and urine tested for kidney disease.
What is a kidney stone?
Kidney stones are not the same as kidney disease. A kidney stone is a solid material that develops from the substances the kidneys filter and clean from the body. A kidney stone may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract and pass with urine. Drinking plenty of water can help flush away the substances that form kidney stones.
Kidney stones are often small enough to pass out of the body on their own. However, sometimes a large kidney stone may block the flow of urine and require medical attention. Call your doctor if you have extreme pain in your back or side, blood in your urine, cloudy urine, fever/chills or vomiting.