With March being National Kidney Month, it’s only fitting that I write a blog post on kidneys—especially since it’s only one letter away from my name and, thanks to autocorrect, is what I commonly get referred to as in emails!
First things first, an overview: why do kidneys matter? The kidneys are organs in our body associated with the renal and urinary systems. Their job is to filter out metabolic waste and hold onto essential nutrients within our blood to maintain the rest of the organs in our body. They can also activate vitamin D for bone health and aid in the production of new red blood cells. The change in fluid composition greatly regulates our fluid levels.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a serious condition of worsening kidney function over time. It often goes unnoticed until it’s too late until the point of where patients require dialysis treatment and/or organ transplant.
With kidney disease being both silent and hereditary, a primary care physician can monitor for developing CKD through blood pressure testing, urine protein measurement and glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GFR is the most important in measuring how well the kidneys are filtering blood.
In order to avoid developing CKD, we can all work to stay healthy by:
- Drink water!
- Exercise regularly
- Quit smoking and avoid heavy alcohol consumption
- Maintain a balanced, health diet
- Monitor cholesterol levels
- Get to know your family medical history