healthy kidneysDid you know that 31 million Americans have a chronic kidney disease? Although it’s such a widespread problem, many of us don’t know much about our kidneys. You’ve probably known someone with kidney stones, but what exactly do the kidneys do for us? In honor of National Kidney Month, Hospitality Health ER Longview will take you on a deeper dive to look at these critical organs. How do we maintain healthy kidneys?

Healthy Kidneys: What They Do and How to Keep Them Healthy

What Do Kidneys Do For Our Body?

Your kidneys play many important roles in your body. They are constantly filtering blood to keep it clean. They remove waste, extra water, and acid by way of urine. The urine then leaves the kidneys through two thin tubes called ureters and enters the bladder. This cleansing process allows your body to maintain a balance of water, minerals, and salts in your body so that your muscles, tissues, and nerves work properly. Kidneys are also responsible for releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure and the production of red blood cells.

How Do We Keep Our Kidneys Healthy?

Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can increase damage to your blood vessels, which can prevent oxygen and nutrients from flowing to the kidneys. You can help keep your blood pressure in check and protect your kidneys through healthy lifestyle habits. Exercise regularly, eat plant-based foods, reduce salt consumption, quit smoking, and reduce stress and the amount of alcohol your drink.

Keep Blood Sugar Levels Under Control: Diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease. High blood sugar can also damage the blood vessels in your kidneys and prevent them from working well. Maintain your blood sugar by replacing processed foods and sugars with nuts, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Reduce Salt Consumption: High salt consumption can ruin the sodium-potassium balance in the kidneys. This can prevent the removal of water from the kidneys, which can lead to high blood pressure.

Moderate Use of NSAID Painkillers: NSAIDs, like Advil and Motrin, have proven to increase mild, moderate, and severe kidney disease. NSAIDs are also known to injure the kidneys and impair the immune response to heart failure.

Manage Your Protein Consumption: Eating more protein than your body needs may put an added burden on unhealthy kidneys and cause them to decline faster. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about portion control to better manage your protein consumption.

Stay hydrated: Drink sufficient amounts of fluids on a daily basis to help open up the blood vessels in your kidneys. This allows nutrients to flow freely through them. Dehydration can cause the body to do the opposite. High concentrations of nutrients in urine escape the body before being processed.

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