How often do you consider the health of your kidneys? It’s been reported that around one million people in the UK are not aware that they have chronic kidney disease.
This Thursday (10 March) is World Kidney Day, so it’s a good time to consider what your kidneys do for you and how you can keep them healthy.
What role do kidneys play?
Most people have two kidneys, but it’s possible to lead a healthy life with only one. The main job of your kidneys is to cleanse the blood of toxins and turn the waste into urine.
They also produce some essential hormones and keep electrolytes and water content of the body at the right level. The hormones produced include renin which helps control your blood pressure, vitamin D to maintain strong bones and erythropoietin which helps with the production of red blood cells.
There are around one million nephrons in each kidney which enables all these functions to happen.
What are the causes of kidney disease?
In the UK, for a lot of people diabetes and high blood pressure have contributed to their kidney disease; both of which can be helped with some lifestyle changes.
How can I prevent kidney disease?
1. Diabetes and hypertension
The best way to prevent kidney disease is to avoid developing late onset diabetes and hypertension. You can do this by maintaining a healthy weight, keeping active and by not smoking. Two conditions, which if not well managed, can lead to kidney problems are diabetes (insulin and non-insulin dependent) and hypertension (high blood pressure).
If you’re being treated for either of these follow your GP, consultant or Nurse’s advice and if you’re unsure ask questions and check. It’s also worth asking to have your kidney function checked regularly by having tests done on your blood or urine.
2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet
A balanced diet will also reduce your risk of developing kidney disease by keeping your heart and body healthy. Your diet should include:
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables – aim for at least five portions a day
- Meals that include starchy foods, such as potatoes, wholegrain bread, rice or pasta
- Boil food rather than frying
- Some beans or pulses, fish, eggs, or meat as a source of protein
- Low levels of saturated fat, salt and sugar
- Fat free or low fat milk or milk products
3. Drink plenty of water (but not too much)
Another way to keep your kidneys healthy is to stay well hydrated. Water is best, about four pints for women and five for men daily, which you need to increase if unwell or in sunny weather.
Fast access to urology treatment at Benenden Hospital
Although we can’t treat kidney disease at our hospital, we can treat patients with urology-related kidney problems. Urology deals with diseases of the male and female urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra) and the male reproductive organs (penis, testes, scrotum and prostate). We offer a range of private urology treatments and services in a comfortable and reassuring environment.
You can book an appointment with one of our Consultants by completing our online booking form or by calling our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.
Published on 10 March 2022