Kidney Awareness Month

We don’t want to let March pass by without discussing the importance of kidney health.  March is Kidney Awareness Month.  The kidneys are responsible for maintaining several vital functions in the body.  Their function is so important that you have a spare.  It is possible to live a full, active life with only one kidney (which is why kidney transplants are a thing), but you must have at least one functioning kidney.  

Why Are The Kidneys So Important?

Let’s take a look at why the kidneys are so important.  

  • Kidneys are one of the body’s filters and are responsible for removing waste, drugs, and toxins from the body.
  • They maintain the balance of water in the body and eliminate the excess.
  • Believe it or not, they also help to regulate blood pressure by producing an enzyme that enables the distribution of a hormone created by the adrenal gland.
  • Kidneys produce the hormone Erythropoietin, which tells the body to make red blood cells.
  • Kidneys transmute the Vitamin D from the sun or supplements into a form our bodies can utilize to create strong bones.
  • They also maintain a balance of other important substances in the body necessary for strong bones, including calcium, parathyroid hormone, and phosphorus.   

When your kidneys are damaged and no longer able to perform their vital jobs, your alternatives are dialysis, kidney transplant, or a pine box (or perhaps you will be displayed on the mantle in a nice marble urn).  To avoid the unpleasant alternatives, here are some tips for keeping your kidneys happy and healthy.

How to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

There are three things you can do that will be of the most benefit for the health of your kidneys.  These are the same basic things you have been hearing for most of your adult life.  Obviously, for most of us, they are easier said than done since we keep hearing them.  What are those three things you ask?

  1. Eat a healthy diet.
  2. Keep active and fit.
  3. Drink lots of water.

Like I said, easy to say, not so easy to maintain with all the tasty temptations out there and lure of couch time with the endless streaming possibilities for entertainment.   Yet those three things will help control blood sugar and pressure.  Two big enemies of healthy kidneys. They will also help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the need for supplements and medicines that introduce toxins your kidneys would need to flush out.  

The other important thing to avoid for optimum kidney health is smoking.  If you haven’t started, good for you!  That will make things easier.  If you do smoke, quitting would be one of the best gifts you could give yourself.  Smoking aggravates so many different health conditions in addition to the ones it directly causes.  Not getting on a soapbox here, just letting you know smoking isn’t doing your kidneys any favors.  

Signs Your Kidneys Are Not Functioning Properly

Some signs that your kidneys may not be functioning optimally include vomiting and nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, trouble sleeping, weakness, change in urination pattern, muscle cramps, and a decrease in mental sharpness.  

Most of those symptoms can indicate a number of different health conditions.  If you are concerned about the state of your kidneys, you can have your kidney function tested.  An independent, private pay clinic like IPE Screening can save you money on your tests and provide the same quality results you would get from a doctor or hospital test.  No doctor, appointment, or insurance is required.  Drop-in today!