Most people have two kidneys which are bean-shaped organs located on both sides of the spine, behind the stomach. Here's how to ensure your kidneys function fully.
Each kidney is roughly the size of an adult fist and their main function is to keep the composition of blood in the body balanced.
The kidneys filter extra water and toxins from the blood. The kidneys filter ones blood to create urine every day. However, they are not just one big filtering sponge. Each kidney is a system of millions of tiny filters called nephrons.
A nephron has two parts. The glomerulus is the first part of the filter. It strains blood cells and large molecules from the toxins and fluid. The fluids and toxins that pass through then go through the tubule. The tubule collects minerals that the body needs and puts them back into the bloodstream and filters out more toxins.
Your body can still work quite well with only one kidney, so long as that kidney is healthy. However, some people don't have healthy kidneys, and sometimes their kidneys stop working altogether.
Today, on World Kidney Day, we give you 5 valuable tips on how to keep your kidneys healthy!
1. Drink fluids regularly
Although there is no strict medical guidelines available stating how much water and other fluids we should consume daily to maintain good health, it is often suggested that we drink 1.5 to 2 litres (3 to 4 pints) of water per day.
Consuming lots of fluid helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body which lowers one's risk of developing chronic kidney disease. It’s important to keep in mind that the right level of fluid intake for any individual depends on many factors including gender, exercise, climate, health conditions, pregnancy and breast feeding.
2. Don't take prescription pills too often
Common drugs such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly.
These drugs aren't much of a risk if you have relatively healthy kidneys and if you only use them for emergencies however, if you are suffering chronic pain, such as back pain, work with your doctor to find a way to control your pain without putting your kidneys at risk.
3. Watch your blood pressure
We all know that high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, but not many know that it is the most common cause of kidney damage.
After 140/90 and above, you should discuss the risks with your doctor and monitor your blood pressure level often. High blood pressure is especially likely to cause kidney damage when associated with other factors like diabetes, high cholesterol and various cardiovascular diseases.
4. Maintain an active and healthy lifestyle
Keeping fit helps to reduce your blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of chronic kidney disease.
Aim to do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
5. Control your blood sugar levels
Half of people who have diabetes end up developing kidney damage, so it is important for people with diabetes to have regular tests to check their kidney functions.
Kidney damage from diabetes can be reduced or prevented if detected early. Always keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and work with your doctor to keep them low.