Chronic kidney disease (CKD) continues to increase in populations throughout the world. It’s largely due to the growing epidemics of diabetes and hypertension – the two main causes of CKD. According to World Kidney Day, internationally there are over 240 million people with diabetes and nearly one billion people with high blood pressure. Here are the top 10 tip to prevent kidney disease and boost vitality:
1. Maintain normal weight. Being overweight or obese significantly increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Find out what the ideal weight is for your height, gender and ethnicity and try to stay as close to that weight as possible through a healthy diet and exercise. A healthy weight also helps you to fight fatigue, a common symptom of kidney disease.
2. Control blood pressure. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is often referred to as the silent killer. Make sure you check your blood pressure at least once a year if you’re under 40 and do not have a family history of this condition or any other risk factors such as obesity.
3. Monitor blood glucose. Keeping your blood glucose levels close to the normal range decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and kidney damage. The first step is to get tested. Many people with prediabetes – a risk factor for type 2 diabetes characterized by higher than normal blood glucose levels – do not know they have it.
4. Effectively treat diabetes. This condition which impairs insulin function, or causes a lack of insulin production, is very complicated to manage. You need to consult with your doctor to develop an effective treatment plan for your stage of diabetes and to suit your lifestyle. For instance you may need to take insulin, or to control it through diet or exercise.
5. Get enough rest. A lack of sleep increases the risk of developing hypertension, becoming overweight or obese, and exacerbates diabetes. These conditions, as well as kidney disease, further cause you to feel fatigued. Like hypertension and obesity, a lack of sleep is also a global epidemic. If you have trouble sleeping for two weeks or more, you should consult a naturopathor your family doctor. There are several natural treatments for sleeplessness or insomnia such as meditation and supplements such as valerian.
6. Exercise. This is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid the main risk factors for kidney disease – type 2 diabetes and hypertension. It helps to improve insulin sensitivity to maintain normal blood glucose levels, and it improves cardiovascular function. Exercise also improves sleep and boosts energy levels throughout the day. Try not to exercise at least six hours before going to bed, however.
7. Treat infections immediately. Some infections such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder infections can increase your risk of developing a kidney disease. Urinary tract infections can be treated naturally and effectively by drinking cranberry juice. Research also suggests that regularly eating probiotics reduces UTIs and other infections.
8. Limit alcohol intake. Abusing alcohol can damage kidney function. It disrupts electrolyte balance in the body and the hormonal control mechanisms that influence kidney function. Health professionals recommend that women drink no more than one glass of alcohol per day and men drink no more than two glasses per day.
9. Limit sodium intake. Excessive sodium consumption increases your risk of developing high blood pressure, which damages the glomeruli – tiny filtering units in the kidneys.
10. Take supplements safely. Both vitamin and herbal supplements can damage your kidneys. For instance, creatine, ephedra, and excessive amounts of vitamin D have all been linked to kidney damage. Do thorough research or speak to your naturopath before adding supplements to your diet.