Kidney disease is a widespread issue made all the more disconcerting by the fact that many people are unaware they have it. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million American adults have kidney disease, and most don't know it. And the problem of kidney disease is not exclusive to the United States, as the Canadian Kidney Foundation notes that the number of Canadians being treated for kidney failure has tripled over the last quarter century.
Healthy kidneys are something many people take for granted. But those who want to do everything they can to keep their kidneys healthy can consider the following tips, courtesy of the Cleveland Clinic.
Stay hydrated, but avoid overhydration. Many people are familiar with the benefits of drinking water each day, and adequate hydration definitely promotes healthy kidneys. But overhydrating has not been proven to enhance kidney function. The Cleveland Clinic recommends adults drink between four and six glasses of water per day.
Exercise. Regular exercise benefits various parts of the human body, including the kidneys. High blood pressure and diabetes are two of the biggest risk factors for kidney disease, and regular exercise can reduce a person's risk of both conditions. However, overexertion can strain the kidneys, so adults who exercise, especially novices who need to improve their conditioning, should avoid going too hard at the gym.
Speak with a physician before taking vitamin supplements or herbal remedies. Vitamin supplements and herbal remedies have become very popular in the 21st century, but excessive supplementation can harm the kidneys. Discuss any supplements or herbals remedies with a physician before taking them.
Quit smoking. Just as exercise benefits the body in myriad ways, smoking harms the body in myriad ways. Smoking decreases the blood flow in the kidneys, decreasing their ability to function at optimal capacity. Smoking also increases a person's risk of high blood pressure and cancer of the kidneys.
Eat healthy. A healthy diet decreases a person's risk for high blood pressure and diabetes. Adhering to a healthy diet and controlling portion sizes can help control weight and blood pressure and contribute to healthy kidneys as well.
Get screened. Adults who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes should make sure their physicians screen for kidney dysfunction during routine appointments. Learn more about kidney disease at www.kidney.org.