6 tips to prevent kidney failure: From picking healthy diet to kicking bad habits

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When it comes to a kidney disease or condition, anyone can be targeted. But those with diabetes and high blood pressure may be at a higher risk of kidney failure. Risk factors might be many, but that doesn’t mean you give up and don’t take precautions. A lot depends on your lifestyle. You might have heard this a number of times, but it is true. There are also ways to prevent kidney failure. All you have to do is find out the right diet, manage diabetes and high blood pressure, if you have them, engage in physical activities and more.

Before you find out the ways to prevent kidney failure, it’s important to know what happens when one or both your kidneys no longer work on their own.

Health Shots connected with Dr Sandeep Guleria, Senior Consultant, Kidney Transplant Surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, to get some answers on kidney failure.

You can care for your kidneys a little every day. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is kidney failure?

You feel fatigued, nauseated and notice changes in how often you go to the bathroom, then your kidneys are probably giving up. Guleria said that if the kidney function drops below 15 percent of normal, the person is said to have kidney failure. As for acute kidney failure, it happens when the kidneys suddenly become unable to filter waste products from the blood. He explained that when the kidneys lose their filtering ability, dangerous levels of wastes might accumulate, and the person’s blood’s chemical make-up might get out of balance.

Causes of kidney failure

People with diabetes and high blood pressure need to be more careful as these two are the most common causes of chronic kidney disease as well as kidney failure. When diabetes is not managed, it can lead to high blood sugar levels and if it happens consistently then it can damage the kidneys as well as other organs. As for high blood pressure, it means that blood travels forcefully through your body’s blood vessels, and with time and with no treatment, the extra force can damage the kidneys’ tissue. Other causes that lead to kidney failure include polycystic kidney disease, which is a condition you inherit from one of your parents, glomerular diseases, which affect how well your kidneys filters waste ans lupus, which is an “autoimmune disease that can cause organ damage, joint pain, fever and skin rashes,” shared the expert.

Tips to prevent kidney failure.

There are ways to ensure your kidneys remain healthy.

1. Make healthy food choices

Go for fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and cut back on salt and added sugars. Guleria suggested to aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day, and try to have “less than 10 percent of your daily calories come from added sugars”. You can add colourful veggie toppings such as spinach, broccoli, and peppers for your pizza if it’s your favourite sinful food. Also, try to bake or boil meat, chicken and fish instead of frying. Reading food labels is also important. Pick foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and of course, added sugars.

Eat healthy for kidney failure prevention. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Make physical activity part of your routine

Sedentary lifestyle will do no good, so be active for 30 minutes or more on most days. If you are leading an active life at the moment then it is important to check with the health care provider about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.

3. Get enough sleep

You must have heard this a number of times, but it is true. You should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

4. Stop smoking and limit alcohol intake

If you smoke or consume other tobacco products, you should just quit. Guleria said that drinking excessive alcohol can actually increase the blood pressure and add extra calories, which can ultimately lead to weight gain.

5. Explore stress-reducing activities

Learning how to manage stress, relax, and cope with problems can improve emotional and physical health. Physical activity can help reduce stress, as can mind and body practices like meditation.

6. Manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or a heart disease, the best way to protect your kidneys from damage is to keep the blood glucose numbers close to your goal. Checking your blood glucose, or blood sugar, level is an important way to manage your diabetes. Also, keep the blood pressure numbers close to your goal.

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