March is National Kidney Month and the National Kidney Foundation is urging all Americans to give their kidneys a second thought and a well-deserved checkup.
Kidneys filter 200 liters of blood a day, help regulate blood pressure and direct red blood cell production. As much work the kidneys do it shouldn't surprise you that they are also prone to disease; 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for kidney disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney failure. There are more than 26 million Americans who already have kidney disease, and most don’t know it because there are often no symptoms until the disease has progressed. - 2015 National Kidney Foundation
SIMED Primary Care's Rakesh Sharma gives us seven important facts about the Kidney's and how they are important to our overall health.
1. The kidney's primary function is the filtration of waste, but are also involved with blood pressure control.
2. The kidneys help regulate red blood cells and maintain electrolyte homeostasis.
3. Long term history of chronic medical conditions can lead to a decline in kidney filtration. Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and atherosclerosis are the most common to affect the kidneys, especially when not under control.
4. Diet and medications can be used to slow progression of chronic kidney disease and the need for dialysis.
5. Kidney stones are usually composed of calcium or uric acid and occur within the kidney or urine collecting systems. These common deposits may cause pain and obstruction of urine, leading to decline in urinary function.
6. To maintain optimal kidney functioning, you should:
- Maintain a good level of hydration
- Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
- Remain physically active
- Avoid medications which are toxic to the kidneys
7. Some warning signs of an issue with ones kidney include:
- Swelling in the legs or feet
- Abdominal cramps
- Flank pain
- Blood in urine
- Discolored urine
- "Frothy" urine