Melissa is a lover of all things health and self-management of health as much as possible. She loves hiking, cooking, and gardening.
Kidney health and kidney function are a big deal, but often, we don’t think much about it until we discover that we have an issue with our kidneys. Kidney stones and urinary tract infections are just a couple of the problems that can develop when our kidneys are out of balance. Other conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, uremia, kidney cysts, and hydronephrosis can also occur.
The Importance of the Kidneys
Not only do they help filter waste in the body and send it out as urine, but they also work to filter the blood before it goes back to the heart. They also help to keep the minerals in our bodies at an appropriate, or healthy level, and produce hormones that make red blood cells, regulate blood pressure and even maintain bone health.
When something is off with the kidneys, it can cause a wide range of symptoms that might not even seem related. For example, swollen ankles or feet, trouble sleeping, puffy eyes, fatigue, trouble concentrating, itchy and dry skin, and muscle cramping can all be associated with kidney function or lack thereof.
Taking Care of the Kidneys
There are many reasons why we should take care of our kidneys, and not just so we enjoy clearer skin, weight loss, and more energy. We take care of our hearts and our brains. We care for our eyes, and our skin and the kidneys should enjoy love, too.
There are many different ways to improve kidney health, and possibly slow the progression of kidney disease that you can do on your own, but you should always talk to your health care provider to make sure you’re doing the right thing. Some supplements that claim to help detox the kidneys can be harmful in cases of kidney failure, so don’t take something if you aren’t sure that it will be right for your situation.
10 Ways to Improve Kidney Function
When you want to boost your kidney health and improve kidney function, it can be easy to get confused about what you should and shouldn’t do. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about changes to lifestyle and diet that you can make. These are 10 steps that you can take to help you improve your kidney health on your own.
- 1. Maintain a healthy diet. As with most things to do with a healthy body, what we put in affects how all of our organs perform, how we sleep, and how we feel in general. It’s important to note that many kidney conditions stem from other conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. So, making sure to enjoy a healthy diet and stay on top of any other health conditions you might have can make a tremendous difference in the health of your kidneys, too.
- 2. Be careful with the supplements you’re taking. While vitamins and minerals can be a good thing, too much of them can create problems for the kidneys. The same goes for herbal remedies. Not all things that are natural are healthy, and some can have negative effects. Do your research about anything you’re considering, and be sure to talk to your doctor before starting taking supplements.
- 3. Get regular exercise. It’s no surprise that exercise can make a tremendous difference in the overall health of the kidneys, but if you haven’t considered the benefits, it’s good to take another look. Depending on your fitness levels, even a walk can make a difference in how you feel and the function of your kidneys. Plus, since exercise plays such a critical role in all areas of your health, from maintaining a healthy weight to regulating blood sugar levels, possibly lowering blood pressure, and aiding in sleep while reducing fluid retention, it’s no surprise that getting regular exercise can be critical to the way your kidneys function.
- 4. Don’t smoke. Smoking takes a toll on all areas of the body, and the kidneys are no different. It constricts the blood vessels, which means that the essential circulation to the kidneys that keeps them healthy and functioning well can be reduced. Also, when you stop adding the toxins from cigarettes to your body, you’re reducing the amount of work that your kidneys will need to do.
- 5. Sip, don’t chug, water. Any time you go a long time without hydrating, and then you chug a glass of water, you’re making your kidneys do extra work suddenly. Instead of chugging a glass or two of water, maintaining hydration by sipping on water throughout the day can be less work on your kidneys overall.
- 6. Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, there are many healthy reasons to consider weight loss, and healthy kidneys are two of those reasons. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on these organs and help them maintain proper function.
- 7. Be careful with over-the-counter medications. When we have pain, it’s normal to turn to ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, but using these medicines for chronic pain can be hard on the kidneys. Taking them for extended periods or taking high doses of these medications can be very hard on the kidneys, so be careful with how you take them.
- 8. Find new ways to deal with pain. As we age, arthritis and injury-related pain can become significant. It’s important to find healthy ways to deal with it to prevent the use of over-the-counter pain medications as much as possible. If you’re struggling, talk to your doctor about ways that you can help ease your pain without potentially damaging your kidneys.
- 9. Talk to a dietician that specializes in kidney health. If you are struggling with your kidney function, consider talking to a dietician that specializes in kidney health to ensure that you’re consuming the right healthy foods for your situation. Some foods can put more strain on the kidneys than you want them to, so the right diet can make a tremendous difference in the overall health of these organs.
- 10. Make lasting healthy lifestyle changes. A healthy body helps us to feel good, rest well, and live the best life possible. When you make changes to help your kidneys function well, you’re also making total healthy body changes. Start a little at a time, and make sure they stick so your new, lasting lifestyle changes help you to feel great, and keep your kidneys functioning well at any stage of your life.
Healthy Kidneys = Healthy Body
While healthy kidneys are just one aspect of a healthy body, they do play an important role, and should never be ignored. It’s never too early to begin taking care of your body to ensure your kidneys stay healthy for life.
- Healthline.com – Hydronephrosis
- Healthline.com – Kidney Overview
- Clevelandclinic.org – 7 Secrets to Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy
- Kidneycoach.com – 10 Ways to Improve Kidney Function Without Leaving Home
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2021 Melissa Knight