Chronic diseases such as chronic kidney (renal) failure does not only occur in the elderly. The change of pace in lifestyle, and that how everything requires to be instant, in addition to the lack of an exercise becomes a significant reason to the increasing rates of chronic kidney failure in young adults. Severe cases of renal failure will require treatment including dialysis or kidney transplant in order to survive. Prevention is surely the key to fight off chronic kidney failure.
Why do we need our kidneys?
The kidney has a vital function to our lives. In general, we each have two kidneys that are located around our flanks. The kidney filters our body’s metabolic waste and excretes excessive fluids through our urine. When the kidney fails, metabolic waste and excess fluids are accumulated in our body, and therefore causes swelling. Swelling happens at first around the feet and ankles, then our hands. If it worsens, fluid accumulation may also happen in our abdomen (peritoneal space), and our lungs. People with renal failure may also experience nausea and vomitting, fatigue, find it difficult to sleep, and shortness of breath. The kidneys also function to produce and release several hormones that play a role in the production of red blood cells, vitamin D metabolism, and hormones that contribute to sustaining a normal blood pressure. Without treatment, a diseased kidney will only become worse. A poor functioning kidney is not reversible, and our main . One cannot live without non functioning kidneys.
Am I at risk for chronic kidney failure?
Your doctor makes the diagnosis of chronic kidney failure when there’s a decrease or it is poorly functioning for more than 3 months. Kidney function is monitored through blood tests by checking serum creatinine and urea (or blood urea nitrogen). A value that is above the normal range may show a kidney that is failing (although conditions such as having a high protein diet, fever and excessive physical activity may also increase the creatinine levels). A urine test may also be done in order to observe the types of cells found in urine.
The 2 most common causes of chronic kidney failure is hypertension and diabetes. Hypertension causes stress to the blood vessels supplying the kidney and the kidney itself. A high concentration of glucose in diabetes also destroys the blood vessels.
What can I do to prevent it?
Generally, hypertension and diabetes mellitus type 2 are preventable diseases. Both diseases are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. According to Professor Dr. dr. Ketut Suwitra, Sp.PD-KGH, who is a consultant in hypertension and nephrology in Surya Husadha Hospital recommends the following steps in order to prevent chronic kidney failure:
If you have hypertension or diabetes or any other chronic diseases, be sure to go to your doctor regularly in order to monitor your condition and medications. Controlling your chronic disease may slow down detrimental effects to your kidney.
Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. Smoking also contributes to hypertension which is a main cause of kidney failure.
Healthy diet. A healthy balanced diet decreases the risk of kidney failure by keeping your blood pressure, your cholesterol levels, and your blood glucose normal. According to the American Heart Association, limit your salt intake to no more than 2.3 grams or 1 tea spoon of salt.
Do not consume alcohol excessively. Excess alcohol consumption increases the blood pressure. Alcohol is also broken down into carbohydrates. Some alcohol beverages like beer and wine are high in purines and they may increase uric acid production which also contributes to kidney health.
Regular exercise. Regularly exercising decreases the blood pressure and decreases the risk of kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. It is recommended that you exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.
Be aware of pain killers. Over the counter painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol, and ibuprofen, when taken in excess and and for a long period of time causes changes in the kidney. Only consume painkillers when you really need it and when it is recommended by your doctor.