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3 steps anyone can take to keep their kidneys healthy

Chronic kidney disease is more common than people may realize. The organizers behind World Kidney Day (in March) indicate that roughly one in 10 people across the globe have CKD, which can develop at any age.

The prevalence of CKD underscores how significant a threat it poses to the general public. In addition to its impact on public health, CKD also exerts a financial strain on countries across the globe. For instance, a recent report from NHS Kidney Care in England indicated the costs associated with kidney disease in that country outnumber expenses for cancers of the breast, lung, colon, and skin combined. Across the pond in the United States, annual costs to treat CKD are estimated to be around $48 billion.

Many instances of CKD are not preventable. However, these three tips can help anyone reduce their risk for CKD.

1. Recognize your risk. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases indicates that individuals are more likely to develop kidney disease if they have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and/or a family history of kidney failure.

Annual physical examinations can indicate if blood pressure levels are high and help to determine if a person is prediabetic. Prediabetes does not mean a person has type 2 diabetes, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that, without intervention, prediabetes is likely to become type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

Individuals also can speak with older relatives to determine their family medical history and whether or not it includes individuals with kidney disease.

2. Speak to your physician about kidney testing. The NIDDK reports that early kidney disease may not produce any symptoms. As a result, testing may be the most effective way to determine if your kidneys are healthy. Health care providers will determine the frequency of testing, which typically involves blood and/or urine tests.

3. Eat a healthy diet. The NIDDK recommends individuals ensure less than 10% of their daily calories come from added sugars. In addition, reducing sodium consumption and focusing on heart-healthy foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, can help individuals maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure, thus reducing their risk for kidney disease.

Kidney disease is a significant threat to public health. Individuals concerned about CKD can employ various measures to reduce their risk.


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