Keeping your kidneys healthy

Keeping your kidneys healthy

Kidney Health New Zealand kicked off their annual drive to raise funds and promote kidney health awareness. You have two kidneys and they’re vital organs that hold a special place in your health and wellbeing. There’s lots of great information about how kidneys work, and how to maintain good kidney health on the Kidney Health New Zealand website

Early detection can mean a lot less damage
The key to preventing kidney damage is early detection. That’s because one in 10 people with kidney disease don’t actually know they have it. Remarkably, a kidney can lose up to 90% of its function before any symptoms show, and the worst thing is that kidney function often can’t be recovered. So, get to know the risk factors – and make sure you get your kidneys checked if you’re at risk.

What are the risk factors? *

  1. If you’ve had previous issues with heart disease
  2. If you’re diabetic
  3. If you have high BMI
  4. If you’re of Maori or Pacific heritage
  5. If you’ve previously had a kidney injury
  6. If there’s history in your family of kidney disease
  7. If you smoke
  8. If you have hypertension
  9. If you’re over the age of 60 years.

Testing made simple
The good news is, getting tested is really simple! One easy way is for your GP to measure the amount of protein in your urine with a simple test. It’s really important to check in with your doctor every now and again if you have any of the risk factors above because remember – the symptoms of kidney disease are not always obvious, and often don’t appear until much of the damage is done.

Can a Kidney keep fit?
Yes! Maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to keep your kidneys’ healthy. For example, by eating foods lower in salt and eating more fruit and veg. You should also aim for a healthy body weight, make physical activity part of your daily routine and quit smoking.

Drinking enough fluid every day is an important part of kidney health – and nothing beats water. So keep a bottle handy and drink a couple of litres a day. This is especially important in hot weather, when working or exercising in the sun.

Managing your diabetes
Got diabetes? This section is for you – because there are some specific steps you can take to help reduce the likelihood of harm to your kidneys.

The first thing to do is maintain your blood glucose targets as often as you can and get tested for your average level of blood glucose over the past three months (HbA1C) at least twice a year, but ideally four times a year.

Next, if your blood pressure is high, check it regularly and get support to bring it down a little to help make sure your kidneys stay healthy.

Did you know?
Common over the counter drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage if taken too regularly. If you’re dealing with chronic pain, such as arthritis or back pain, chat to your GP about alternatives.