A major health concern worldwide, Chronic Kidney Disease affects millions of people, radically curtailing their quality of life. The affected people lead difficult lives, dreading the eventuality of dialysis or the need for transplantation. A little more care and awareness about healthy living can drastically reduce the risk of developing Kidney ailments. Our Kidneys play the vital role of filtering and removing the waste and excess fluids from our blood and body on a continuous basis. A problem in the functioning of the Kidneys can therefore be extremely dangerous, and life threatening in the long term. Chronic Kidney Disease refers to a gradual loss of Kidney function - in either one or both the Kidneys. A failure to reduce the progression of the disease can lead to complete Kidney damage. A large number of people go through dialysis or artificial removal of waste from the blood, when the Kidneys lose their function - and many of these patients are advised Kidney transplantation. Much like cardiovascular disease, Kidney disease too is in many ways a lifestyle disorder and can be controlled and prevented by adopting healthy ways of living, says Dr Anupam Roy, Consultant - Nephrology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon. Particularly susceptible are people who are diabetic, as almost 50 per cent of them develop Kidney damage at some point of time in their lives. Do follow Dr. Roy’s Golden Rules:
1. Know your family medical history: Knowing this is half the job done, as it prepares you to do something about your risk factors. People who have parents or other relatives with Kidney disease are genetically predisposed to developing it. Talk to a doctor about how this puts you at greater risk and what preventive steps you should take to reduce your risk. If you are at greater risk, make sure you get your Kidney functions tested, to know about the health of your Kidneys. Often, many people discover that they have renal disease though there were no ‘symptoms’.
2. Keep your blood sugar level under check: Having diabetes compounds your chances of developing Kidney disease. It is important for people with diabetes to have regular Kidney function tests, to try and detect any anomalies at an early stage. If detected early, Kidney damage from diabetes can be reduced or prevented.
3. Manage blood pressure: Hypertension increases your risk of developing Kidney damage. If you have a family trait of hypertension and Kidney disease, keep a strict check over your blood pressure. Manage it by living a healthy life and sticking to advised medication. Maintain your cholesterol levels.
4. Live an active life: Being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, which are major risk factors for Kidney disease.
5. Eat healthy: Eat a healthy diet, light and fresh, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Reduce the consumption of food items that are rich in empty calories, reduce your salt intake and cut down on processed and packaged foods. Consult a dietician to advise you on a Kidney-friendly diet.
6. Quit harmful habits: Excessive drinking doesn’t just cause damage to the liver, it also increases the risk of Kidney damage. Similarly, excessive smoking doesn’t just harm the lungs, but also affects Kidney health.
7. Maintain a healthy fluid intake: Consuming plenty of water and other fluids helps the Kidneys clear sodium, urea and other toxins from the body in a healthy way and keeps the Kidneys in good health. How much of fluid intake is right for a person depends on several factors - including the climate, health condition of the person, physical exercise levels and whether the person is pregnant or breast- feeding.
8. Consume Kidney-safe drugs: Excessive intake of Over-The-Counter pills, painkillers and analgesics such as ibuprofen is not a healthy practice. When consumed on a regular basis, some of these drugs can harm the Kidneys. Make sure your doctor, not your friendly chemist, prescribes your drugs.