How to Improve Your Kidney Health

March 4, 2024

Kidney disease is a common condition that affects tens of millions of Americans every year. Too often, these illnesses go undetected and undiagnosed, allowing them to advance and requiring drastic treatment procedures. This National Kidney Month, learn to spot the early signs of kidney disease, risk factors, and how to take care of your kidneys before illness can strike.

About Kidney Disease

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in 3 Americans are at risk of kidney disease. 37 million Americans are currently living with chronic kidney disease while 660,000 are living with kidney failure and 100,000 are awaiting a kidney transplant.

Diabetes and hypertension are two major risk factors for developing kidney disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes can damage the tiny filters that make up the kidneys, also known as nephrons. Hypertension — which can be a comorbidity of diabetes — can narrow, weaken, or harden the arteries around the kidneys, according to the American Heart Association, preventing an adequate supply of blood from reaching the kidneys and starving the nephrons of the oxygen and nutrients needed to function properly. Other risk factors include:

Symptoms of Kidney Disease

As is the case with many chronic conditions, detecting kidney disease early can prevent major complications or invasive procedures in the future. Don’t ignore the warning signs — talk to your primary care physician if you experience the following symptoms:

Mitigate Your Risks

Improving your kidney health and lowering your risk of a chronic condition is as simple as making some positive adjustments to your everyday life. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends the following strategies to help care for your kidneys:

Expert kidney care is available locally. Dr. Carlos Urdininea Kirkwood is an internist and nephrology specialist at the Elmer Hugh Taylor Clinic in Beardstown. To schedule an appointment, call (217) 323-2245.