By Benprince Ezeh
THE kidneys are fist-sized organs located at the bottom of your rib cage, on both sides of your spine. They perform several functions. Most importantly, they filter waste products, excess water, and other impurities from your blood. These waste products are stored in your bladder and later expelled through urine.
Kidneys regulate PH, salt, and potassium levels in your body. They also produce hormones that regulate blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells. They are responsible for activating a form of vitamin D that helps your body absorb calcium for building bones and regulating muscle function.
A recent report by the World Health Organisation, WHO, shows that presently 36.8 million Nigerians (23 percent of the total population) are suffering from different forms of kidney disorder, while an estimated 15,000 new patients are diagnosed every year.
Chinedu Okoro, a doctor says that the kidney is one of the essential parts of the body and regular exercise helps to maintain its healthiness. “Regular exercise is good for more than just your waistline. It can lower the risk of chronic kidney disease. It can also reduce your blood pressure and boost your heart health, which is both important in preventing kidney damage. You don’t have to run marathons to reap the reward of exercise, walking, running, cycling, and even dancing are great for your health. Find an activity that keeps you busy and have fun. It’ll be easier to stick to it and have great results.
“People, who are overweight or obese are at risk for a number of health conditions that can damage the kidneys. These include diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease. A healthy diet that’s low in sodium, processed meat, and other kidney-damaging foods may help reduce the risk of kidney damage. Focus on eating fresh ingredients that are naturally low-sodium, such as cauliflower, blueberries, fish, whole grains, and more,” he said.
Emmanuel Enang, a doctor with Federal Medical Center, FMC, Abeokuta said that smoking damages the kidney and increases the chances of one getting cancer. “Smoking damages your body’s blood vessels. This leads to slower blood flow throughout your body and to your kidneys. It puts your kidneys at an increased risk of cancer. If you stop smoking, your risk will drop. However, it will take many years to return to the risk level of a person who has never smoked,” he said.
According to him, drinking water constantly helps in maintaining the kidney. “There’s no magic behind the cliché advice to drink eight glasses of water a day, but it’s a good goal precisely because it encourages you to stay hydrated. Regular water intake is healthy for your kidneys. It helps clear sodium and toxins from your kidneys, lowers your risk of chronic kidney disease. Aim for at least 1.5 to 2 liters in a day.
“Exactly how much water you need depends largely on your health and lifestyle. Factors like climate, exercise, gender, overall health, and whether or not you’re pregnant or breastfeeding are important to consider when planning your daily water intake. People who have previously had kidney stones should drink a bit more water to help prevent stone deposits in the future,” Enang said.
For Doctor Kingsley Ezeh, they are many forms of kidney disease, but the common one is chronic kidney disease. “A major cause of chronic kidney disease is high blood pressure because your kidneys are constantly processing your body’s blood, they’re exposed to about 20 percent of your total volume of blood every minute.
“High blood pressure is dangerous for your kidneys because it can lead to increased pressure on the glomeruli, the functional units of your kidney. In time, this high pressure compromises the filtering apparatus of your kidneys and their functioning declines. Eventually, kidney function will deteriorate to the point where they can no longer properly perform their job, and you’ll have to go on dialysis. Dialysis filters fluid and wastes out of your blood, but it isn’t a long-term solution. Subsequently, you may need a kidney transplant, but it depends on your particular circumstance,” he said.
According to Ezeh, diabetes is another major cause of chronic kidney disease. Over time, uncontrolled blood sugar levels will damage the functional units of your kidney and leads to kidney failure.
He stressed that kidneys are vital to your overall health. “These organs are responsible for many functions, from processing body waste to making hormones, which is why taking care of your kidneys should be a top health priority. Maintaining an active, health-conscious lifestyle is the best thing you can do to make sure your kidneys stay healthy. If you have a chronic health condition that increases your risk for kidney damage or kidney disease, you should also work closely with your doctor to watch for signs of loss of kidney function,” Ezeh said.
Maintaining kidney health is important to your overall health and general well-being. By keeping your kidneys healthy, your body will filter and expel waste properly and produce hormones to help your body function properly.
– May 22, 2020 @ 17:05 GMT /