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How To Keep Kidney Healthy And Improve Kidney Functions

HealthcareOnTime Team 2024-05-30 2024-05-31 3 Min Read
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    Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when the patient slowly loses their kidney's health and normal functioning. When CKD progresses to an advanced level, it becomes life-threatening. 1

    That is why it is essential to keep kidneys healthy. Improving kidney health is important not only for CKD patients but for people of all ages and genders. 

    Therefore, in the below sections, we have mentioned 10 useful kidney health tips that can help you achieve this goal.

    Do You Know: 

    • According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, in the USA (United States of America), almost 37 million adults were found suffering from CKD in 2021. Among these, a majority of people were unaware of their condition. 2
    • In Australia, these numbers were close to 246,200 in 2022. However, the risk of developing kidney disease was higher, particularly in people aged over 75 years. 3
    • Likewise, the frequency of the occurrence of CKD in India has also increased significantly by 5.6% from 1990-2017. 4 

    Taking a kidney profile test is a method that can help you know the current health status of your kidneys. Following the test results, you can take the right steps to improve kidney functioning and prevent the onset of CKD. 

    How To Keep Kidney Healthy: 10 Effective & Proven Ways

    From following a healthy diet to managing any kind of pre-existing medical disorder, there are many ways to improve kidney function and keep them Healthy. Below mentioned are 10 such effective ways. 

    Take a Healthy Diet 

    The first step towards keeping your kidneys healthy is analysing what you eat. The nutrients that your food contains have a direct impact on your overall health, regardless of whether you have a kidney disorder or not. 

    Likewise, cutting down on sodium and calories is one of the most helpful diet-related kidney health tips. Sodium primarily comes from salt, and your diet should not contain more than 2300 mg (milligrams) of sodium in one day. Similarly, if you are getting more than 10% of your calories from sugar daily, then it is not good for your kidney health. 5

    What to Eat

    Here is a list of food items that can help you maintain kidney health:

    • Fresh fruits and vegetables
    • Whole grains
    • Low-fat foods or fat-free dairy products
    • Fat-free or skimmed milk
    • Low-fat milk
    • Whole wheat
    • Brown rice
    • Oats
    • Whole-grain corn
    • Whole-grain bread
    • Baked or broiled fish, meat, and chicken

    What to Avoid

    To keep your kidneys healthy, you must avoid food items that contain— 

    • Added sugar
    • Saturated fats
    • Trans fats
    • Cholesterol
    • Salt (sodium)
    • Whole milk
    • White rice

    Get Enough Sleep 

    Research studies have concluded that to keep kidneys healthy, a person should sleep at least 6 hours and no more than 8 hours. 

    While adequate sleep is crucial for kidney health, excessive sleep duration can also pose risks. Participants who slept for more than 8 hours were found to be at a much higher risk of developing CKD. This was the same in the case of those who slept for less than 4 hours. 

    Therefore, the duration and quality of your sleep are crucial for maintaining your kidney health. Not having enough sleep every night increases your chances of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD).

    Conclusively, you must aim for 6-8 hours of sleep daily to improve kidney function. 6

    Exercise More Often 

    One of the easiest and safest ways to make your kidneys healthy is to perform regular physical activity. 

    When it comes to your kidneys' health, both excess weight gain and high blood pressure are equally dangerous. Regular exercise can help you maintain your weight and bring down your blood pressure levels. It ultimately results in improved kidney functioning. 

    Remember that you have to adjust your diet along with the type of exercise routine that you choose to get the best results. At the same time, make sure that you do not overdo it, as it can create further problems, especially when your body is not used to exercising daily. 7

    Drink Enough Water 

    The most common myth regarding how to keep your kidney healthy is that you should drink more than enough water. Most people believe that having more water equals improved kidney functioning. But there are no studies to prove this. 

    However, it is crucial to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day to keep yourself well hydrated and to avoid kidney problems. 

    Minimise Stress  

    Too much stress increases the chances of catching diseases like—

    • Hypertension (unhealthy high blood pressure)
    • Diabetes (sugar disease)
    • Vascular diseases (diseases that are related to the nerves)

    All of these contribute to the onset of kidney diseases. That is why stress management techniques are an excellent way to take care of your kidney health and prevent long-term kidney disorders. 8

    Here is a list of some great ways to reduce stress—

    • Regular exercise
    • Meditation
    • Yoga
    • Tai chi

    Maintain A Healthy Weight  

    Whether it is chronic kidney disease (CKD) or any other medical condition, being overweight is a common risk factor for almost every health issue. That is why bringing your weight to a normal BMI (Body Mass Index) is one of the most important kidney health tips.

    Even for people who are not at risk of CKD and who simply want to keep their kidneys healthy, avoiding weight gain is a good step to take. 9

    Here are some ways to achieve a healthy weight—

    • Adjusting your diet and evaluating your everyday calorie intake
    • Regular physical activity
    • People who are obese (overweight individuals) should consider talking to an expert to customise their weight loss plan according to their requirements.

    Stop Smoking  

    Habits like smoking and vaping are both harmful to the kidneys. When a person smokes, the blood vessels undergo damage, which ultimately decreases the kidney-related blood flow. This compromised blood flow disables the kidneys to function properly. 

    Smoking also has other adverse effects, including—

    • High blood pressure
    • Kidney cancer

    That is why one of the most important kidney health tips is to minimise your exposure to any kind of tobacco smoke, regardless of whether you are a smoker or not.

    Limit Alcohol Intake  

    Similar to smoking, alcohol also has many side effects on your body. The most common of these side effects include—

    • Elevated blood pressure (High BP)
    • Weight gain due to added calories that are found in alcohol

    Both of these conditions make kidneys unhealthy. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid alcohol intake or at least limit it to maintain your kidney health. 

    Men and women have different tolerance levels for alcohol. Generally, for a woman, 1 drink in a day, and for a man, 2 drinks in a day are recommended. Note that these numbers vary according to the type of alcohol that you choose.

    Manage Your Pre-Existing Medical Conditions 

    In comparison to a normal, healthy individual, someone who has any kind of medical condition is at a higher risk of kidney damage because of the complications of that particular disease.

    Likewise, the 3 main risk factors for kidney disease include the following—

    • Diabetes (Hyperglycaemia or Hypoglycaemia)
    • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
    • Heart disease 

    If you have any of the above conditions, you can take an online blood test at home to determine your health status. Following this, you can take the right measures to improve your kidneys' functioning and make them healthy. 

    Here are some ways in which you can do this—


    High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

    Some BP medicines can assist you in taking care of your kidney health. These include—

    • ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) Inhibitors: It helps to bring down BP. If someone's urine has albumin (a type of protein), ACE inhibitors can keep their kidneys healthy by delaying kidney damage. 10
    • ARBs (Angiotensin Receptor Blockers): ARBs are oral medications that also help to reduce BP. 11

    Heart Disease

    Heart attack and stroke are the worst outcomes of heart disease. Cholesterol, particularly bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or LDL), is responsible for these. When bad cholesterol accumulates in your blood vessels, it blocks them and ultimately results in a heart attack or stroke. 

    Therefore, the best way to prevent these is to make sure that your bad cholesterol levels stay under control. 

    Therefore, proper management of diabetes, blood pressure, and heart-related disorders is one of the most crucial kidney health tips, especially if you are at the chronic stage of any of these conditions. 

    Avoid Overuse of Certain Medicines 

    Medicines that are meant to reduce pain (painkillers) can hurt your kidneys when taken more frequently than needed. 

    A specific type of painkillers called NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are especially harmful to your kidneys when taken in excess. 

    Examples of such medicines include—

    • Aspirin
    • Ibuprofen 12
    • Naproxen 

    These are generally easily available in any pharmacy and are frequently overused by many people, even for short-term pain. This overuse can prove to be life-threatening by causing severe kidney damage. 

    So, if you want to keep your kidneys healthy, then it is best to minimise the use of painkillers as much as possible. 

    Lastly, people who take these medicines for chronic pain and those who have arthritis must talk to their physician regarding the replacement of these medicines with a better solution. 

    Early Detection and Management Tips to Improve Kidney Function 

    Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite (not having the will to eat anything), tiredness, bodily weakness, and sleep problems are among common symptoms of kidney problems. Early identification of these symptoms is essential for the timely maintenance of kidney health. A KFT profile test is a type of medical examination that can help you know more about it. 

    Likewise, once you know that you have kidney disease, you can follow the above-given kidney health tips to stay away from an increased risk of developing advanced CKD. Moreover, advanced CKD is not very common, and most people can live a healthy and fulfilling life even when they have the disease. 

    Here are some management tips that can make your kidneys healthier when followed strictly—

    • Stick to Prescription Medicines: If your doctor has prescribed some medicines, make sure that you take them for as long as they have been recommended. Sometimes, these medicines aim to eliminate future problems. 
    • Get Vaccinated: Anyone who has kidney disease is at a higher risk of catching infections. That is why, to improve kidney health, it is important to get vaccinated promptly. You can work with your medical practitioner to get an idea about what kind of vaccine would be best for you (depending on your circumstances). 
    • Regular Evaluation of Your Overall Health: Whether you have a kidney disorder or not, regular health checkups are essential to maintaining kidney health. These evaluations can assist in detecting risk factors so that your doctor can suggest the right measures to improve kidney functioning. 

    Ref Links: 

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Can Kidneys Self-Recover?

    Yes, since kidney cells have the ability to regenerate, your kidneys do have some potential to self-recover. 13 

    Moreover, for anyone who has undergone acute kidney failure, timely treatment can improve kidney functioning and make your kidneys healthier. 14

    Which Multivitamin Is Best for A Kidney Patient?

    For someone who has CKD, certain dietary restrictions are important. As already mentioned above, many food items contain certain elements that are dangerous for your kidneys. It is essential to avoid these to keep your kidneys healthy. 

    Examples include the following—

    1. Salt
    2. Potassium
    3. Phosphorous
    4. Electrolytes
    5. Salt (sodium) 15

    On the other hand, nutrients like calcium and vitamin D are beneficial for a kidney patient as they improve kidney health. This is because while calcium is good for bone health, vitamin D helps balance out the levels of calcium and phosphorus in your body. 

    Hence, multivitamins containing vitamin D and calcium supplements are both good for keeping your kidneys healthy. 

    How Do You Know If Your Kidney Is Healthy?

    Here are some differentiating factors that can help you determine whether you have a healthy kidney or not—

    1. Being tired is a common symptom of kidney disease. So, if you're always tired, unhealthy kidneys might be a reason. 
    2. Sleep apnea is another common telltale sign of CKD that can even result in kidney failure. Therefore, if you are having trouble sleeping, it could be because your kidneys are not functioning properly. 
    3. Swelling in your face and your feet is another common symptom of kidney problems. That is why, if these persist for longer than normal, they can be an indication of unhealthy kidneys. 16

    Henceforth, it is crucial to take care of your kidney health by following the correct kidney health tips.


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