Kidneys are vital to our overall health, so caring for them is essential. Nephrology is a specialty of medicine dealing with normal kidney function, diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease and dialysis.
The steps you take to keep your kidneys healthy help the rest of your body too. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out the steps that are right for you.
Steps to keep your kidneys healthy:
- Get your blood and urine checked for kidney disease
- Manage your diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
- Keep your blood pressure at the target set by your health care provider. For most people, the blood pressure target is less than 140/90 mm Hg. This can delay or prevent kidney failure.
- If you have diabetes, control your blood glucose level.
- Keep your cholesterol levels in the target range.
- Take medicines the way your provider tells you to. (Important! Certain blood pressure medicines called ACE inhibitors and ARBs may protect your kidneys. Ask your health care provider for more information.)
- Cut back on salt. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day.
- Choose foods that are healthy for your heart: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Be more physically active.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- If you smoke, take steps to quit. Cigarette smoking can make kidney damage worse.
When you see your provider, ask:
- What is my GFR?
- What is my urine albumin result?
- What is my blood pressure?
- What is my blood glucose (for people with diabetes)?