The kidneys are an important part of the health and well-being of the human body. Luckily, we have two kidneys because they are tasked with a big job. The main function of the kidney is to rid the body of waste by filtering and removing excess fluid through the production of urine. This vital organ helps regulate critical chemicals necessary for the function of the body including salt, potassium and acid content. The kidney also produces hormones that help regulate other vital functions of the body including red blood cell production, blood pressure regulation, and calcium metabolism.
With all this going on, you can see that the kidneys are crucial in maintaining a healthy body. How does one take care of their kidneys to ensure that they keep functioning properly? How does one recognize when there is a problem with the kidneys?
A healthcare provider can monitor the function of the kidneys in 2 ways: through the blood and through the urine. The urine can show if there is protein present which could be an indicator that the kidney is having trouble filtering properly. The creatinine found in blood can give the provider an idea of how well the kidneys are functioning by using it to calculate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The lower the GFR, the less the kidney is functioning.
Factors that can affect kidney function include:
- Kidney stones
- Genetic predisposing factors
The best way to care for your kidneys is:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Drinking plenty of water
- Maintaining physical activity
By keeping blood pressure at a normal level and blood sugars controlled, you will be protecting your kidney function. Being mindful of the number of over-the-counter medications that you are taking, such as NSAIDs, can also benefit your kidneys. Good hydration can help prevent kidney stones. Following up with your healthcare provider for routine physicals is a way to monitor your kidney function. Early detection of any changes in kidney function is key to maintaining overall kidney health.
For more information of kidneys and maintaining kidney health, you can go to The National Kidney Foundation