March is National Kidney Month
The month of March is dedicated to Kidney disease. With March being National Kidney Month, we urge everyone to learn what they can do to help prevent kidney disease and raise awareness.
Kidney disease is the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 31 million people in the United States suffer from kidney-related problems.
The kidneys are an important aspect of the body’s functions. They serve as a filter, allowing the body to properly expend extra water and waste from the blood to make urine – essentially helping to clear out toxins. Think of it as the body’s chemical factories that filtering out what we don’t need so the body can perform its vital functions. The kidneys also help control blood pressure, make hormones that your body needs, and help keep your bones healthy.
A diagnosis of kidney disease means the kidneys are no longer able to filter blood the way it should or they are not functioning at full capacity. When kidneys do not work it causes waste and water to build up, which can cause a number of other health issues, including anemia, heart disease, and renal failure.
Today, 1 in 3 American adults are at high risk for developing kidney disease. Kidney disease becomes more common with increasing age and because the kidney is an important organ we need to survive it is vital to understand risk factors and prevention.
Some major risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Family history of kidney failure
If you or a loved one is at risk for kidney disease it is important to get regular urine tests, blood pressure readings, fasting blood glucose tests, and creatinine tests. Taking these steps could help stop progress of the disease and prevent kidney failure.
If you or a family member experiences any symptoms of kidney failure including a reduced amount of urine, swelling of ankles, unexplained shortness of breath, and fatigue you should contact your doctor to help determine the best treatment options. Kidney disease symptoms often develop slowly and sometimes with no symptoms at all, which can cause the disease to go undetected.
As we age it is essential to prevent any damage to the kidneys and keep up with a healthy lifestyle.
Some ways you can help reduce the chances of developing kidney disease:
- Eating a healthy diet – Think lots of leafy greens, fresh fruits, and lean proteins. Be especially careful of sodium intake.
- No smoking – This should go without saying. Tabacco is a toxin and will only negatively impact your health.
- Limiting alcohol – An occasional drink won’t hurt, but if you are drinking daily or drinking in excess when you do drink, you need to cut back.
- Staying active – Walking 30 minutes a day, swimming, and yoga are all good options and these are activities you can do as you age.
Take the opportunity during National Kidney Month to alert loved ones about what ways to keep kidneys healthy. Help spread the word about National Kidney Month by telling friends, sharing links, or posting on social media. If not properly cared for or addressed early, kidney disease can require dialysis, an organ transplant, and without this care, it can be fatal.
At Paradise Living Centers we care for our residents like family. Our certified caregivers, full-time nurse, and even our Chef are all on-site and will assess residents for any changes or symptoms that can indicate kidney disease.
Make National Kidney Month the month to review your loved one’s health for kidney disease!