Preventing Chronic Kidney Disease

By | January 17, 2014

The small organs in the body known as the kidneys have a major responsibility in maintaining health and preventing chronic kidney disease should be a concern, especially if your are reaching your senior years. Their primary function is to remove waste products and excess water from the blood through urine. However they are also critical in maintaining proper blood pressure by removing excess salt in the bloodstream. You can be successful at preventing chronic kidney disease by watching what you eat, managing your weight, and keeping your blood pressure in check. Here is more on how to do this.

Get Protein from Vegetable Sources

Kidney disease is sometimes caused by high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. This is because the uric acid crystallizes and can form kidney stones that block the tubes leading to the kidneys. When the kidneys try to flush these stones from the body, the tubules can become blocked and it can be quite painful. Prolonged problems with kidney stones can eventually lead to kidney failure or reduced efficiency. Protein from vegetable sources can be found in soy, beans, oatmeal, and even protein supplements.

Keeping Your Blood Pressure in Check

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects the kidneys directly as well as other organs in the body. Blood pressure is used as a metric to indicate pressure against blood vessel walls. If there is too much water in the bloodstream or the blood vessels are constricted then blood pressure will rise. When blood vessels in the kidneys fail due to hypertension, preventing chronic kidney disease becomes a problem because they fail to remove water and waste products from the bloodstream thus leading to high blood pressure. As you can see, there is a dependency between healthy blood pressure and proper kidney function.

You should take steps to lower your blood pressure to a target reading of 120/80 if you suffer from hypertension. Preventing kidney disease requires addressing the problem of high blood pressure if you have it. Factors that cause hypertension include obesity, high sodium intake, alcohol, smoking, and stress.

Reducing Your Weight

As indicated previously, those who are overweight oftentimes have high blood pressure thus leading to problems in preventing chronic kidney disease. The medical term for this condition is known as “obesity” and it is diagnosed by using a measurement known as the Body Mass Index or BMI. Basically, BMI is a way to measure body fat separate from lean muscle tissue. This is important because weight alone does not tell if a person is obese since some muscular people can easily exceed recommended weight. No matter what, people who are obese usually know it and must take action to reverse this condition.

Avoid Fast Food

The problem with fast food such as hamburgers and fried chicken is that it contains phosphorous additives which studies have shown them to be linked to not only chronic kidney disease but heart disease as well. However, phosphorous additives are not only found in fast food but also in convenience foods that can be heated quickly and consumed. Phosphates such as pyrophosphate and sodium phosphate are used by fast and convenience food producers to improve storage on shelves and accent flavor. Studies of kidney patients have shown the significance of reducing these types of food in preventing chronic kidney disease.

Cut Back on Vegetables High in Phosphorous

While vegetables are healthy, there are certain types that are high in phosphorous and not recommended when preventing chronic kidney disease. However, reducing vegetables (and fruits) high in potassium is only recommended when kidney function drops to around 20% efficiency. These fruits and vegetables include tomatoes, bananas, milk, prunes, nuts, dried peas, beans, and chocolates. There are others as well so it is prudent to do research as to which foods in the vegetable and fruit group are high in phosphorous.

Minimize Artificially Sweetened Products

Researchers have determined that there is a possible link between artificially sweetened products and kidney disease. However, the topic has been under extensive debate over the last few years. Aspartame is a popular chemical used to artificially sweeten not only soft drinks but also a variety of desserts. Consider that one of the components derived from Aspartame is methanol which is also known as wood alcohol. Since methanol is a toxin, the kidneys must remove it thus excessive consumption of this aspartame could eventually lead to renal failure, especially in older adults. The key to this is moderation. Recommendations are to drink no more than two soft drinks a day with aspartame.

Preventing chronic kidney disease should be a top priority for anyone. Once the kidneys have significant reduction in their ability to do their job, the condition is usually irreversible. The result is that a person will have to go through regular dialysis which drastically affects quality of life. It is never too late to start taking steps to prevent damage to your kidneys.