World Kidney Day 2022
World Kidney Day is an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness about kidneys, their health, and how it can be improved. This year it is marked on the calendar for 10th March 2022.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is harmful and more common than many of us realise, as 1 in 10 adults worldwide are reported to have it. If left untreated it can prove fatal, so early detection is vital for disease care and management. As kidney disease related mortality continues to increase year on year, World Kidney Day is working towards bridging the ongoing knowledge gap related to CKD so that we can improve the fight against kidney disease and halt this worrying and rising statistic.
Not only should healthcare workers and governments be increasing their knowledge around kidney health and disease, it is important to work to improve knowledge and education amongst the general public, making information widely available and offering practical advice and encouragement towards being healthy. For example improving their diet and lifestyles to maintain good kidney health, and how to preserve function longer for those living with CKD.
Your kidneys are 2 bean shaped organs located on either side of your spine, behind your lower rib cage. They are vital to your health as they help to filter out waste products of metabolism and toxins from the blood, sending them to your bladder so they can excreted out the body via urine. The kidneys keep a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals—such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium—in your blood. They secrete a number of essential hormones, and also help to regulate blood pressure.
So what are the main things you can do for your kidneys?
Staying fit and active – maintaining an ideal BMI can reduce blood pressure to reduce the risk of CKD.
Consume a healthy diet – reaching and maintaining your ideal body weight to reduce blood pressure, prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions that are associated with CKD.
Keep your blood sugar in check – about half of people with diabetes develop kidney damage. This can be prevented/minimised if diabetes is well controlled. Regular blood and urine checks at your general body check-up will detect early signs of diabetes as many people are unaware they have it or are at a pre-diabetic stage.
Check and control blood pressure – Many people who have high blood pressure do not know they have it, so it is important to monitor it. High blood pressure can damage your kidneys, especially when associated with other risk factors such diabetes, high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease.
Maintain adequate fluid intake – The average person needs 2 litres per day (8 glasses). Adjust accordingly to exercise levels and climate conditions to maintain optimum levels to assist healthy function. If you are well hydrated your urine should be straw-coloured.
Quit Smoking – Smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys, so can decrease their ability to function normally.
Don’t regularly rely on over the counter painkillers/anti-inflammatories – Some of the common NSAIDs/painkillers e.g. ibuprofen can harm your kidneys if taken too regularly.
Regular check-ups if you have one or more of the high risk factors – diabetes, hypertension, obesity, family history of kidney disease.
If you want to optimise your kidney health, or are at risk of kidney disease, supplements can also play a supporting role. Here are 3 such supplements:
NAC – N-Acetyl L-Cysteine is a form of the sulphur containing amino acid Cysteine. NAC acts as an antioxidant and is also a precursor to glutathione which is often described as the body’s master antioxidant. NAC plays a role in detoxifying the liver and kidneys, protecting them from oxidative damage and other toxins. Ridding the body of cell damaging free radicals reduces oxidative stress which lowers the risk of developing chronic conditions that could result in kidney damage.
Probiotics – Good bacteria can enhance your gut health, and plays a big part in supporting optimal renal function[¹]. Studies have shown that probiotics may be helpful in reducing uremic toxins generated in your gut[²]. Poor gut health can lead to an increase in the growth of pathogenic (i.e., “bad”) bacteria over “good” bacteria, which can result in the generation of uremic toxins (Urea is one of the most well-known uremic toxins). Using probiotics (“good bacteria”) for removal of uremic toxins from the colon could help to maintain healthy kidney function. Probiotics may also help to improve the health, strength, and overall condition of the gut barrier. It is semi-permeable, but if the gut barrier becomes more permeable, aka “leaky,” then harmful things from the intestinal tract can make their way into the blood. Supplementing with a multi-strain probiotic may improve the bacterial balance in your gut, lessen the permeability of your intestinal barrier, and reduce the complications of CKD.
Resveratrol – Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in grapes, berries and peanuts, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Research has shown the kidney protective effects of Resveratrol[³]. It may target inflammation and oxidative stress associated with CKD progression, but further clinical trials are needed[⁴][⁵].
As always it is important to discuss with your doctor before starting a new supplements regime.
Visit the website www.worldkidneyday.org and use the social media hashtags #worldkidneyday and #kidneyhealthforall to find out further information and to get involved.
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