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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15% of all US adults (that’s 37 million people) are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD) - and most don’t know they have it. Diabetes and hypertension are the most common causes. While there is no cure for CKD, there are things you can do that might help your kidneys last longer - even for years:
|What To Do||Why It's Important|
|Control High Blood Pressure
||This has been proven to be the most important treatment for slowing kidney damage. Your blood pressure should be less than 120/80 if you have excess protein in your urine; otherwise it should be less than 130/80.|
|Discuss With Your Doctor Medications That Block The Renin-Angiotensin System||These medicines not only control blood pressure, but also help kidneys that are leaking too much protein in the urine (proteinuria). They act to decrease proteinuria and slow kidney damage.
|Control Your Blood Sugar If You Have Diabetes
||Controlling your diabetes will slow kidney damage. If you are in an early stage of CKD, talk with your doctor about specific diabetic medications that may have additional effects to decrease your risk of worsening kidney function.
|Neutralize Excess Acid
||Damaged kidneys cannot get rid of your body’s acid normally. Neutralizing this excess acid may slow kidney damage, and is linked to a longer lifespan! It is also proven to prevent bone damage and muscle wasting.
||For most CKD patients, the best diet is the “DASH” diet. It is low in sodium (less than 2 gms per day) and rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, and poultry. A modest protein restriction of 0.8 gm/kg/day may slow the progression of your kidney disease. In addition, obesity may cause proteinuria and increase damage to the kidneys. For this reason, a weight loss diet may be recommended to help your kidneys.
||Getting rid of cigarettes slows your kidney damage. Continuing to smoke cigarettes speeds up your kidney damage and increases your risk of kidney failure. So far, marijuana use has not been associated with increased harm to your kidneys.
|Drink If You’re Thirsty
||Despite what you may have heard, there is no proof that forcing fluids helps slow progression of kidney disease - and in some situations it may be dangerous to do so. There is also no proof that any particular fluid is beneficial for the kidneys. Studies are currently investigating sodas - with hints that these drinks may speed up kidney damage.
|Limit Your Alcohol Intake
||As a general rule, limiting to one glass of wine, twelve ounces of beer, or one ounce of hard liquor per day is best. Regular heavy drinking doubles the risk of CKD, and this risk worsens over time. Binge drinking can even cause the kidneys to shut down suddenly.
|Avoid Pain Pills Such As Ibuprofen, Advil®, Aleve And Motrin®
||These medicines are known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pills, and they are proven to potentially harm the kidneys. Acetaminophen is generally safe for the kidneys.
|Keep Your Heart Healthy!
||Heart disease is often linked with CKD. Your primary care doctor or cardiologist may advise you to exercise, take vitamin D, or lower your cholesterol - these maneuvers may not only prevent heart disease, but may also help slow the progression of kidney damage.