March is National Kidney Month which means we are going to talk about the impact these bean-shaped organs have in regards to our health and wellness. Kidneys provide many benefits to our health including filtering blood, releasing waste and toxins, producing hormones, regulating pH, and controlling blood pressure. However, as we get older, we can develop kidney disease. Kidney disease can be known as a silent killer due to lack of symptoms and very serious if not caught early.
The most common kidney disease is called Chronic Kidney Disease. This often-overlooked disease affects approximately 15% of the United States population. That is approximately 37 million people whose kidneys are not effectively working as they should. Chronic Kidney Disease is scaled into five stages depending on the levels of kidney function with stage five being the most severe.
However, there are some things we can do to make it easier for our kidneys to function such as:
How to Improve Kidney Health
Visit with Your Doctor
If you have any concerns for your health, it is always important to connect with your concierge medical provider or primary physician to talk to so they can determine the next steps that need to take place. Be sure to include any family history of kidney disease so that your provider has a full overview before deciding on their course of action. Typically, blood work and imaging may follow in order to determine how well your kidneys are functioning. You may even be referred to a nephrologist, who is a specialist for kidneys and kidney diseases. By maintaining communication with your healthcare provider, the best treatment for your individual needs will become more clear.
Incorporating a consistent activity routine is another important piece to supporting your kidney health. Activity helps blood flow through the kidneys, helping them be able to function properly.
Please be sure to discuss any new activity regimes with your concierge medical physician or primary care doctor before starting. They will be able to take your history and current lifestyle into consideration in order to give you a more personalized approach to adding in more activity. Our goal is to increase activity where we can on a consistent basis rather than inconsistently doing as much as we can as this leads to burnout.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is extremely helpful to the human body, especially the kidneys. The kidneys use water to help flush out waste and toxins that the body no longer needs to hang onto. Typically, it is suggested to drink 8 cups, or 64 ounces, of water per day. The amount of water your body needs depends on your current health condition, age, weight, activity, and living environment. For example, if you are extremely active, live in a warmer environment, or carry excess weight, you may require more water. If you are unsure how much water you should be drinking daily, ask your medical professional what they would suggest as a starting point. If at any time you experience changes to your weight, environment, or activity level, consider adjusting your water intake.
Follow a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet contributes not only to kidney function but to overall health. Adjusting your diet where you are consuming more whole foods, fruits, and vegetables will help your body be able to regulate appropriately. In doing so you may lose excess weight, stabilize blood pressure, regulate hormones, and prevent other diseases. Additionally, limiting your salt intake greatly assists your kidneys in the ability to have enough fluid to filter out the toxins and waste.
It is no secret that smoking is detrimental to your health; however, did you know that smoking can increase your risk of getting kidney cancer by 50%? With those odds, avoiding smoking entirely can save you from the destruction of your kidneys, as smoke affects the kidney’s blood flow. If you currently struggle with smoking, take it day by day or an hour by hour dedicated to avoiding smoking. We understand this can be very difficult for some; however, your health is far more important than the risks to continue smoking. Finding people and techniques to support your goals to avoid smoking will help you to be the most successful.
Kidney Health in Chicago
These are just some ways that are commonly used to help individuals increase kidney function. If you are currently seeing a healthcare provider for kidney health, make sure to keep routine visits and follow your treatment plan. If you are looking for a concierge medical practice in Chicago to address your health concerns, please contact us today! We would love to set up a consultation with you.
To learn more about our concierge medical practice or join our practice, call Dedication Health now. You can reach our office at 847-986-6770. You may also complete our online contact form and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible. Dedication Health is conveniently located at 710 Oak St, Winnetka, IL 60093 in Chicago’s North Shore.
For more information about concierge medicine or improving health and wellness, browse the links listed below.