March is National Kidney Month. 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for developing kidney disease and more than 37 million already suffer from the disease. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney disease, you are at a higher risk for kidney failure. The goal of this month is to encourage people to get checkups to ensure their kidneys are functioning properly. Kidneys remove waste, extra fluids, and acid from your body. They also help maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals. Nerves, muscles, and other tissues may not work normally without this balance.
Follow these tips to avoid or manage chronic kidney disease:
- Have regular checkups with your doctor.
- Manage your blood pressure and blood sugar (if you have diabetes). If either one is too high, discuss options with your doctor to get it in a healthy range.
- Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. This will help lower your chances of developing kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Exercise will also help you lose weight, decrease stress, and manage high blood pressure and/or blood sugar.
- Be sure to get enough high quality sleep. Adults 18 years and older should get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each day. Not getting enough sleep can lead to many chronic health issues, including kidney disease.
- If you smoke, you should try to quit. Smoking can stop blood pressure medicines from working. Smoking can also slow blood flow to important organs and worsen kidney disease if you already suffer from it. It is difficult to quit smoking, so join a support group or ask your doctor for other helpful options.
Take this quiz to see if you are in the 33% of people who are at risk for kidney disease:
At Rutherford’s Best Doctors, we can help connect you to the right medical professional in Rutherford County. Give us a call at (615) 869-0030 for more information.