The US National Kidney Foundation states that 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease. Major risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney failure and being age 60 or older. Kidney disease often has no symptoms, and it can go undetected until very advanced. But a simple urine test can tell you if you have kidney disease.
An article in Huffington Post in February 2020 “What Is Chronic Kidney Disease, The ‘Global Killer In Plain Sight’?” reviews the current state of the disease:
• The issue is generally associated with ageing – roughly 50% of all people over 75 have the disease
• Causes vary, however high blood pressure and diabetes tend to be the most common. In the UK, around one in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure, while diabetes is estimated to impact more than four million people.
• Other possible causes include high cholesterol; kidney infections; polycystic kidney disease; long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, mefenamic acid and high-dose aspirin; and blockages in the flow of urine, caused by recurring kidney stones or an enlarged prostate.
According to the National Health Service, chronic kidney disease is usually caused by other conditions that put a strain on the kidneys. Often it’s the result of a combination of different problems.
• high blood pressure – over time, this can put strain on the small blood vessels in the kidneys and stop the kidneys working properly
• diabetes – too much glucose in your blood can damage the tiny filters in the kidneys
• high cholesterol – this can cause a build-up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels supplying your kidneys, which can make it harder for them to work properly
• kidney infections
• glomerulonephritis – kidney inflammation
• polycystic kidney disease – an inherited condition where growths called cysts develop in the kidneys
• blockages in the flow of urine – for example, from kidney stones that keep coming back, or an enlarged prostate
• long-term, regular use of certain medicines – such as lithium and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
So how to avoid being the 1 in 3 who might get kidney disease? As our readership is in the 60s and older, we’re already hitting one unavoidable risk factor, our age, so it’s important to pay attention to other factors.
Merging the recommendations from the sources above, this is what you should be doing to maintain kidney health:
• Quit smoking
• Limit your alcohol consumption
• Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
• Follow a healthy diet including plenty of fruit and vegetables, and low levels of saturated fat, salt and sugar.
• Get regular exercise
• Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water
• Keep your blood pressure down. Ideally, it should be between 90/60 and 120/80
• Don’t take too many non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
• If you have conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, make sure these are managed.
If you have a history of NOT doing what’s advised above, and you wonder if you’re already in the early stages, then get a test done by your doctor. Early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of this disease.
US National Kidney Foundation: https://www.kidney.org/prevention
Link to my post on “Diabetes“
Link to my post on “Blood Pressure“