Kidney Health for Everyone, Everywhere – World Kidney Day 2020

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The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs and each kidney is about the size of a fist. Your kidneys filter extra water and wastes out of your blood and make urine. Kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should. Kidney disease is classed as a non-communicable disease (NCD) and currently affects around 850 million people worldwide. One in ten adults has chronic kidney disease (CKD) and projected to become the 5th most common cause of death globally by 2040.

One main problem is that chronic kidney disease is a major cause of health expenditure, which the costs of dialysis and transplantation require 2–3% of the annual healthcare budget in high-income countries. While, in low-income and middle-income countries, most people with kidney failure have insufficient access to dialysis and kidney transplantation.
Crucially, kidney disease can be prevented or may be delayed to end-stage kidney disease with basic diagnostics and early treatment. This year World Kidney Day calls for everyone to raise awareness of the increasing burden of kidney diseases worldwide and to strive for kidney health for everyone, everywhere. Specifically we want to highlight the importance of preventive intervention.

SO, WHAT IS THE PREVENTIVE INTERVENTION FOR YOUR KIDNEYS?
Here are 8 golden rules to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease.

1. Keep fit, be active. This can help to maintain an ideal body weight, reduce your blood pressure and the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
2. Eat a healthy diet by reducing your salt intake. The recommended sodium intake is around a teaspoon.
3. Check and control your blood sugar. This is especially important for those who are approaching middle age or someone who have high risk factor of diabetes, because about half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage; but this can be prevented if the diabetes is well controlled
4. Check and control your blood pressure. Same with blood sugar, high blood pressure also can damage your kidneys. Based on WHO, hypertension is diagnosed if the blood pressure is ≥140/90 mmHg, when measured on two different days
5. Take appropriate fluid intake. Normally, the right level of fluid intake is about 2 liters per day for a healthy person. But, it actually depends on many factors including exercise, climate, health conditions, etc.
6. Don’t smoke, because smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. When less blood reaches the kidneys, it can decrease their ability to function normally.
7. Don’t take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory/pain-killer pills regularly. Common drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS)/ pain-killer can harm the kidneys if taken regularly.
8. Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the high risk factors: diabetes, hypertension, obese, family history of kidney disease

HOW CAN I TELL IF I HAVE KIDNEY DISEASE?
Early kidney disease usually doesn’t have any symptoms until it is advanced. Signs of advancing CKD include swollen ankles, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, decreased appetite, blood in the urine and foamy urine.
That is why, testing is the only way to know how well your kidneys are working. You should get checked for kidney disease if you have one or more high risk factors of kidney disease. The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner you can get treatment to delay the advanced kidney disease.

WHAT IF MY KIDNEY FAIL?
Some people live with kidney disease for years and are able to maintain kidney function. Kidney failure means that your kidneys have lost about less than 15 percent of normal kidney function. If your kidney function drops to this level, you may have symptoms from the buildup of waste products and extra water in your body.
To replace your lost kidney function, you may have one of three treatment options:
• hemodialysis
• peritoneal dialysis
• kidney transplant
Some people with kidney failure choose not to have dialysis or a transplant but continue to receive care from their health care team, take medicines, and monitor their diet and lifestyle choices. So, you can just work with your health care team and family to consider your options and choose a treatment that is right for you!

EATING RIGHT FOR KIDNEY DISEASE
You may need to change what you eat to manage your kidney disease. Work with a registered dietitian to develop a meal plan that includes foods that you enjoy eating while maintaining your kidney health. We hope that the steps below will help you eat right as you manage your kidney disease.
Step 1: Choose and prepare foods with less salt and sodium
Cook foods from scratch instead of eating prepared foods, fast foods, frozen dinners, and canned foods that are higher in sodium. Your diet should contain less than 2300 mg of sodium each day. So, when you prepare your own food, you can control what goes into it.

Step 2: Eat the right amount and the right types of protein
Eating more protein than you need may make your kidneys work harder to remove the waste. So, you need to eat small portions of protein foods. Also, you need to know that protein is found in foods from plants and animals. Most people eat both types of protein. But, we suggest you to talk to your dietitian about how to choose the right combination of protein foods for you.

Step 3: Choose foods that are healthy for your heart
To help keep fat from building up in your blood vessels heart and kidneys, try to:
• Grill, broil, bake, roast, or stir-fry foods, instead of deep frying.
• Cook with nonstick cooking spray or a small amount of olive oil instead of butter.
• Trim fat from meat and remove skin from poultry before eating.
• Try to limit saturated and trans fats.
• Limit alcohol

Sources:
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/

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