March is National Kidney Month, a time when communities across the country raise awareness about kidney disease. This year’s focus is on taking charge of your health and the many factors that go into managing your kidney disease.
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about the size of your fist. They sit below the rib cage on each side of the body. Kidneys filter blood. They remove waste products and water to make urine. They filter about a half cup of blood every minute.
The kidneys also make substances that control your blood pressure. And they play an important role in keeping your bones strong.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious condition affecting 37 million people. Often overlooked until symptoms appear, CKD is progressive and can put you at risk for serious health complications including kidney failure. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you manage and slow progression of CKD and its complications.
Follow these healthy lifestyle tips to take charge of your kidney health:
Meet regularly with your health care team. Staying connected with your doctor, whether in-person or using telehealth via phone or computer, can help you maintain your kidney health.
Manage blood pressure and monitor blood glucose levels. Work with your health care team to develop a plan to meet your blood pressure goals and check your blood glucose level regularly if you have diabetes.
Take medicine as prescribed and avoid NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen. Your pharmacist and doctor need to know about all the medicines you take.
Aim for a healthy weight. Create a healthy meal plan and consider working with your doctor to develop a weight-loss plan that works for you.
Reduce stress and make physical activity part of your routine. Consider healthy stress-reducing activities and get at least 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day.
Make time for sleep. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
Quit smoking. If you smoke, take steps to quit.
It may seem difficult, but small changes can go a long way to keeping your kidneys and you healthier for longer.