As you age, so does your body, which includes your organs. One of the most important things you can do as you age to maintain Better Health is to take care of your kidneys. Your kidneys are vital to living a long and healthy life. Without them, your body wouldn’t be able to survive. They flush your body of waste and toxins and keep it balanced with proper fluid levels.
When your kidneys don’t function properly, which becomes more of a concern the older you get, it can lead to a number of health concerns. Here are a few ways you can maintain kidney health as a senior.
Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Eating a healthy diet is important for a number of reasons, including keeping your kidneys healthy. Your kidneys work hard to keep your body functioning properly. They process everything you eat and drink, good and bad. A balanced diet low in fat, sodium, and processed meats may help reduce your risk of kidney damage. Eating healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat, can help to control blood pressure, obesity, and other conditions that could potentially damage your kidneys.
Monitor Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney disease. If your high blood pressure is related to other health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or high cholesterol, the impact on your body and kidneys can be significant. A normal and healthy blood pressure reading is 120/80. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is considered when your blood pressure reading is consistently 140/90 or higher. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms or warning signs, so it’s important to monitor it regularly.
Limit OTC Medications
Continued use of NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and naproxen, can damage your kidneys. Occasional use of OTC pain medications is usually safe; however, heavy and long-term use reduces the blood flow to the kidneys. As a result, these types of medication have been found to cause a type of chronic kidney disease known as chronic interstitial nephritis. Interstitial nephritis occurs when spaces between the kidney tubules become swollen (inflamed), thus affecting your kidneys’ ability to clean your blood and make urine. According to the National Kidney Foundation, these medications should not be taken for more than 10 days for pain or more than three days for fever.
Regular exercise is important in preventing conditions like diabetes and heart disease that can lead to kidney damage and disease. Exercise can also help seniors lower their blood pressure and lose weight, which is also important in preventing kidney damage. Exercise doesn’t mean intense activity or running marathons. Instead, find an activity you enjoy and can do. Yes, you want to push yourself some, but you don’t have to struggle to exercise. By choosing to do something you enjoy, you’ll be more apt to stick with it and achieve great results.
Smoking damages your blood vessels, which in turn affects your kidneys by slowing down blood flow to them. Smoking also contributes to high blood pressure. As discussed earlier, high blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease.
Regular and consistent water intake is the key to keeping your kidneys healthy. Water flushes your system and kidneys of toxins and sodium. If you don’t drink enough, the little filters in your kidneys could get stopped up, leading to kidney stones. The amount of fluid you should be consuming depends on your health and lifestyle. It’s recommended that you drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day. Talk with your provider to ensure you’re staying properly hydrated.
One of the most important things you can do as a senior to maintain kidney health is to get screened. If you’re considered at risk for developing kidney disease (family history, diabetes, high blood pressure), you should have regular kidney function tests. A kidney function test is an excellent way to monitor your overall kidney health. Remember, kidney disease rarely has symptoms in its early stages, so it’s vital to catch it early to prevent irreversible damage.
More than one in seven U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease. Without proper and early intervention, kidney damage continues to progress. And usually beyond repair. Take the necessary steps and be proactive. Your kidneys are vital to your health, and taking care of them should be a top health priority. Contact a VIPcare provider today and make your kidney health a priority. Call 866-926-3831 to schedule an appointment with a provider near you!