Kidneys – Take Care Of Yours
You only get one liver but you get two kidneys; just as well, as the kidneys are not as robust as the liver and are not able to repair and renew themselves like your liver can. So, we thought it opportune to remind you that you need to take care of these 2 cashew nut-shaped organs that lie at the back of the abdominal cavity.
Kidney disease is common and contributes to 15% of all hospitalizations and 10% of deaths.
The kidneys perform amazing functions
- Your kidneys filter your bloodstream removing the waste products of metabolism (namely urea and creatinine and uric acid) from your blood, as well as any drugs you may be taking.
- They control the balance of salt and potassium in your blood.
- They make the hormone called erythropoietin which stimulates your bone marrow to produce red blood cells which carry oxygen to your cells.
- They make the enzyme called renin which exerts controls over your blood pressure.
Tests for kidney function
Tests for kidney function include blood tests for –
- Levels of creatinine and urea in the blood; these are waste products the kidneys must eliminate from the blood. When kidney function is poor these waste products become too high.
- Estimated glomerular filtration rate known as eGFR – this is the rate your kidneys filter your blood and this measurement normally declines with increasing age. It becomes very low in kidney disease.
- Urine tests – analysis of a specimen of urine for protein, blood, cells, sugar and bacteria.
- Ultrasound scan of the kidneys and urinary tract – this can show shape and size of kidneys as well as tumors on the kidneys. If the outer layer of the kidneys (known as the renal cortex) is shrinking, this is a bad sign of chronic kidney disease. Small kidneys, measuring less than 90 mm in length, usually indicate a chronic disease process.
Causes of kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
- Tumor infiltration
- Damage from radio-graphic contrast agents used in X-rays and CT Scans
- Autoimmune disease
- Kidney stones and gout. Kidney stones are most commonly caused by low vitamin D levels, chronic dehydration from lack of water and/or urinary infection.
- Medication damage – analgesics, proton pump inhibitors used for stomach acid suppression, antibiotics, etc.
- Prostate enlargement in men
Patients with kidney disease may present with:
- No symptoms at all – thus the importance of regular blood and urine tests to check your kidneys.
- Reduction in the amount of urine produced – less than 400 ml over 24 hours is abnormally low.
- Fatigue, headaches, back ache, confusion, nausea, poor appetite, vomiting, fluid retention and anemia.
KIDNEY QUESTIONNAIRE – How are your kidneys?
- Do you sometimes retain a lot of fluid, more so than you used to?
- Is the volume of urine that you pass each day getting less?
- Have you had an unexplained rise in blood pressure?
- Have you started getting unexplained headaches?
- Has your skin become more tanned than it used to be, even with little sun exposure?
- Have your nails flattened or become spoon shaped?
- Have you experienced unexplained nausea or vomiting?
- Do you have a family history of kidney disease?
- Do you have a history of frequent urinary tract infections?
- Do you have diabetes or a pre-diabetic state?
- Have you experienced unexplained weight loss?
- Has your urine changed color or odor?
- Do you suffer with back pain?
- Have you had kidney stones?
If you experience several of these symptoms, please see your doctor and ask for a kidney test.
To keep your kidneys healthy
- See your doctor every year for kidney and urine tests along with liver function tests.
- Drink plenty of clean water or herbal teas.
- Control high blood pressure.
- Take Kidney Health Formula Capsules.
- Don’t allow your uric acid levels to be too high.
- Don’t allow your vitamin D levels to be abnormally low.
- Drink raw juices made from celery, cucumber, parsley, mint, ginger, green apple, lemon, orange and carrot.
- Avoid excess sugar in the diet.
- Keep your weight in the healthy range.
- Exercise regularly.
Recommend supplements for optimal kidney function
- Kidney Health Formula
These are designed to support optimal kidney function and to protect your kidneys from inflammation and stones. They contain:
– Phyllanthus Amarus which is a plant with thousands of years of traditional use to reduce kidney stones. It exerts anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties on the kidneys and liver. It is ideal for people who get kidney stones.
- NAC (N-Acetyl- Cysteine) and Selenium which increase the production of the antioxidant glutathione which protects and repairs the kidneys.
- Parsley to promote excretion of excess fluid from the body.
- Cranberry and D-Mannose capsules to reduce kidney infections.
- Vitamin C to prevent urinary tract infections.
- Potassium citrate can be taken to reduce kidney stones.