Guest Author - Mystic Ransdell
It is amazing how much our overall health depends on our kidneys. Those two small organs not only filter waste and help us shed excess water, but they keep many of our body systems in balance.
The sad truth, however, is that one in three Americans are at risk of developing kidney disease. An important aspect to keeping our kidneys healthy is to understand what can cause them to become unhealthy in the first place. The more we can reduce those risk factors in our lives, the better off we are.
The two leading causes of kidney disease are high blood pressure and diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly and to make healthy lifestyle choices with food and exercise. High blood pressure is easily controlled with medication, if needed. Often, however, making healthier choices will reduce high blood pressure naturally, as well as helping you shed excess weight. If you are diabetic, taking the proper medication to control your insulin level is incredibly important, as well as following a diet that helps to keep your blood sugar in balance.
Alcohol can also have a very negative impact on your kidneys as well as your liver, especially if you drink to excess. For all the fun associated with it, alcohol is basically a toxin in the body. Kidneys do a wonderful job of filtering out harmless substances, but if you drink too much or too often, it can overwork them. In addition to that, alcohol raises the blood pressure and dehydrates the body, stressing out many of your body systems, in addition to your kidneys.
Other things that can cause strain to your kidneys include smoking, excessive use of over-the-counter pain medication, excess salt, and many prescription medications and illicit drugs. In general, doing what you can to reduce the number of toxins you subject your body to is a good thing.
If you do feel that you have a number of risk factors in your life that concern you, your doctor can perform two simple tests to show how well your kidneys are doing. The ACR test measures how much of the protein Albumin is in your system. High Albumin levels is an important sign of kidney damage. The GFR test measures how well your kidneys are removing waste from your blood. Both of these tests should be done at least once a year if you have a number of concerning risks factors. The earlier that kidney disease is detected, the earlier it can be treated in order to prevent it from getting worse.
The best way to prevent kidney disease is by eating right, getting enough rest and exercise, quitting smoking if you need to, and avoiding excess consumption of alcohol and medication. Those simple steps are not only good for your kidneys, but for your overall health and well being!