I'm here to suggest that perhaps your kidneys deserve a little respect before they start failing. The kidneys weaken with age and can really cause a lot of trouble if they fail, but there are things you can do to treat them nice and keep tabs on them.
The kidneys are busy all the time because they get ~20% of your total cardiac output and have a lot of housecleaning to do. Take care of your kidneys starting now and improve your chances of finishing this life with kidneys that still work. Here are 13 Ways:
- Get your kidney function checked annually, or more often if you have a family history of kidney disease, unusual kidney structure, or you are hypertensive, diabetic, or obese, or if there are things on this list that you just can't do.
- Take care of invisible medical problems. Most of the conditions that damage kidneys are things like high blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol—things that you can’t feel. Deal with invisible problems because once you feel the damage it’s too late.
- Avoid NSAIDS as much as you can. This means ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. If you must take them, take the minimum dose for the minimum time. High doses can be destructive. Tylenol (acetomenophen) is the only OTC pain reliever that doesn’t hurt the kidneys, and it can cause liver failure.
- Caution with Medications. Penicillins, sulfas and thiazides reduce renal function if taken longterm. If there are other ways to treat your problems, find them.
- Stop Smoking. If you’re a smoker you’ve probably already been told the thousands of medical reasons to stop. Get help if you need it.
- Get heavy metals (lead, mercury, etc) chelated out if you have too much. Start with a hair test and go from there.
- Fix prostate problems. A swollen prostate can back up urine and drown the kidneys. Get help if you can't pee.
- Drink water. It’s the fluid that you’re made out of, and drinking it helps prevent kidney stones which really suck. If you have kidney disease already, your doctor will suggest specific amounts.
- Stop boozing. Alcohol is a strong diuretic and can directly impact kidney function, as well as hurting the liver and adding to the kidney’s work. Easy on the alcohol.
- Eat fruit and veggies. You don’t have to give up meat but limiting meat consumption might be recommended if you have kidney disease. For prevention of kidney disease the best dietary advice is to eat lots of fruit and veggies for the antioxidants.
- Be reasonable with salt. Too much salt makes your blood pressure go up which is really hard on the kidneys.
- Manage your weight. Obesity is a top risk factor for kidney disease and just like blood pressure, smoking and drinking, it’s not an easy one to fix fast. Get help.
- Know the symptoms of kidney failure and get help if they happen. The early symptoms are non-specific: fatigue, brain fog, loss of appetite and swelling ankles. The next stage is muscle twitches and cramps, itching, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, hipccups, a sore mouth or a bad taste in the mouth, sleep disturbances and possibly congestive heart failure. The late symptoms are really bad; get help way before then.