Healthy Choices Can Protect Your Kidneys

electrolytes-stable-(1).pngMarch is Kidney Month, a good time to consider the health of your kidneys. The kidneys, which are about the same size as a fist, filter waste and excess water from the blood. Damage to the kidneys, known as chronic kidney disease, can cause waste to build up and other health problems to develop.

Approximately 15 percent of U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control. Kidney disease may have no signs or symptoms in its early stages, so many people may not know they have it. Blood and urine tests can allow medical professionals to diagnose and monitor kidney disease.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of chronic kidney disease. Other risk factors include heart disease, obesity, lupus, family history of kidney disease, and high cholesterol. If you have one or more risk factors, talk with your doctor about your kidney health.

Kidney disease often gets worse over time. Early diagnosis and management can help to slow the progression of kidney disease. If a person’s kidneys fail, they will need dialysis or a kidney transplant. More than 29,000 New Yorkers are currently on dialysis, and more than 7,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure each year. More than 7,700 New Yorkers are currently waiting for a lifesaving kidney transplant.

You can take steps to protect your kidneys, including:

  • Controlling your blood pressure.
  • Controlling your glucose if you have diabetes.
  • Eating healthy.
  • Staying physically active.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Not smoking.
  • Staying properly hydrated.