By: Alonso Chavarriaga
Kidney disease is one of the leading causes of death in America and affects as many as 31 million people. As such, it’s important for you to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with kidney disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Disease
As Dr. Orlando M. Gutiérrez points out, many of the people who develop kidney disease don’t even realize it, since early signs and symptoms can appear minor and almost absent.
As it progresses, later stages of kidney disease can result in swelling all over the body and constant itching caused by a release of toxins into the skin. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, speak to your physician as soon as possible.
Adding to diabetes and hypertension, African-Americans are also at high risk for kidney disease, as well as progression of kidney disease into kidney failure. If your family has a history of kidney disease, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease, make sure you keep a close watch on your kidney health.
Healthy Kidney Maintenance
There are several things you can do to keep your kidneys in good shape. For starters, reduce the amount of sodium you ingest. The kidneys play an important role in regulating blood pressure throughout the day, and one of their functions is to remove the extra salt you eat. The work needed to remove this salt, however, causes blood pressure to rise.
It’s recommended that you don’t eat more than 2.3 grams of sodium per day, which is equivalent to six grams of salt. If you already have kidney disease, your potassium levels may be elevated, so avoid using potassium salt substitutes that may cause even more problems.
Drinking water can also help regulate kidney function. The amount of water you should drink for optimal kidney health can vary depending on the season. During the summer when it’s hot and humid, Dr. Gutiérrez recommends drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water a day to restore lost fluids. During the fall and winter seasons, water isn’t lost as much as during summer, so you can get away with drinking a little less.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway Dr. Gutiérrez offers is that a huge factor in preventing kidney disease is your diet. There are many different things added to the food you eat to make it taste better and help preserve it; but a lot of those added ingredients can include extra sodium, unhealthy fats, and other unwanted elements.
Check labels and diligently avoid foods that contain high amounts of sodium. The less work you place on your kidneys, the easier time they’ll have removing salt and performing their functions properly.
In the accompanying audio segment, Dr. Orlando Gutiérrez, joins Wellness for Life Radio to tell you what to watch for when it comes to the health of your kidneys, as well as possible indications of kidney disease.