Five Simple Tips to Protect Your Kidneys

Kidneys are two of the body’s most essential organs and they have several major functions. They filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood a day, help regulate blood pressure, and direct red blood cell production. Unfortunately, they are also prone to disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure or family history of kidney failure.


This March, in recognition of World Kidney Month, we are urging you to give your kidneys a well-deserved checkup.


Here are five simple things you can do to protect your kidneys:


1) Get Tested
Ask your doctor to take appropriate tests for kidney function (an ACR urine test or a GFR blood test) if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, are over age 60, or have a family history of kidney failure.


2) Exercise Regularly
Getting active for at least 30 minutes a day can help you control blood pressure and lower blood sugar, which is vital to kidney health.


3) Reduce Use of NSAIDs
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can harm the kidneys, especially if you already have kidney disease. Try alternative methods for pain relief such as ice packs, heating pads, and massage.


4) Cut Processed Foods
Processed foods can be significant sources of sodium, and have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and kidney disease. Try a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, along with low-fat or nonfat dairy and lean meats. Avoid foods high in salt and sugar.


5) Control Blood Pressure and Diabetes
High blood pressure and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure. Managing high blood pressure and strict control of blood sugar levels can slow the progression of kidney disease.