11 Mar 2014

Keeping the Flow: World Kidney Day is March 13th

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Believe it or not, there is an entire day dedicated to kidneys, worldwide.  And for good reason.  One might ask not what do kidneys do for us, but rather, what do they NOT do? Here at Rockaway Care Center we encourage everyone to be concerned for their health in general, and specifically with regard to kidneys due to their vastly important role. Kidney disease can strike anyone, at any age, so awareness is crucial.

Here’s a list of the primary bodily functions for which the kidney organ is responsible:

a) Removing excess water and toxins from blood by creating urine.

b) Aiding in regulating blood pressure.

c) Red blood cell production assistance.

d) Blood pH balancing.

e) Contributing to bone health.

f) Controlling potassium and sodium levels.

Without the above working in balance, it’s clear that problems can ensue, sometimes even leading to CKD – Chronic Kidney Disease.


How can we ensure healthy kidneys? Here are main ways to do so:

  1. Drink.  All healthier fluids count towards getting the flow going to give the kidneys what they need to function. Water, real fruit juices, milk, coffee and tea (with caffeine in moderation) – just be sure to stay hydrated. A rule of thumb is one drink before a meal, and one drink afterward, with a bottle of mineral water on hand throughout the day.
  2. Eat healthy. Surprise, surprise, right? As for any health issues, along with drinking, nutritional intake is the most basic way to keep up ideal blood flow and kidney health.  Balanced amounts of healthy proteins, raw vegetables, lower salt, and minimal unhealthy fats are key ways to eat nutritiously. If you already have kidney problems, speak to a nutritionist or dietician about specifically regulating your diet, including potassium and phosphorus levels. (And yes, kidney beans themselves are an excellent source of protein, even if their name is only a result of having the same shape as the organ!)
  3. Maintain normal blood pressure levels. While kidneys work to control blood pressure on their own, if blood pressure is already at abnormal levels, the kidneys can get overworked. In fact, high BP is associated with about 20% of CKD cases.
  4. Keep diabetes under control. Diabetes is associated with 1/3 of the cases of the highest stage of Chronic Kidney Disease, otherwise known as End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
  5. Be aware of warning signs. The following are warning signs of possible kidney problems: Urination pain, urination frequency changes, or blood in the urine; face or extremity swelling; back pain; and metallic taste in the mouth. Other signs of illness might also indicate kidney dysfunction, such as dizziness, nausea, or shortness of breath. If you feel like something’s just not right, as usual, see a physician immediately.

Use World Kidney Day as a celebration of awareness of overall health at Rockaway Care Center (and any other place you or your loved ones may be).  Remember to be keen on prevention – here’s to drinking and eating healthy to best allay any problems. Cheers and bon appetite to keep your body flowing well. Your kidneys will thank you, as will your spirit.


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