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5 simple steps to improve kidney health

According to the CDC, more than one in seven U.S. adults, or 37 million people, are estimated to have chronic kidney disease. March is National Kidney Month, a time to raise awareness and learn more about these vital organs and how to keep them healthy.

Kidneys are vital organs responsible for filtering blood and removing waste products from the body. Located on both sides of the spine, the kidneys are responsible for regulating the body’s fluid balance, electrolyte levels and blood pressure.

Kidneys also play a crucial role in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. They also help activate vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones and healthy immune function. According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidneys convert vitamin D from supplements or the sun into the active form of vitamin D that the body needs. With chronic kidney disease, low vitamin D levels can be found, sometimes even severely low levels. This may occur because injured kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D into its active form.

To keep your kidneys functioning at their best, follow these tips:

1. STAY HYDRATED

Drinking enough water is essential for maintaining proper kidney function. Aim for at least eight to 10 glasses of water a day, and more if you are physically active or live in a hot climate.

2. EAT A HEALTHY DIET

Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats can help support kidney health. Avoid excessive salt, sugar and processed foods, which can put stress on the kidneys.

3. EXERCISE REGULARLY

Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure and improve overall kidney function. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, most days of the week.

4. MANAGE UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS

Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can damage the kidneys over time. If you have these conditions, work with your healthcare provider to manage them effectively and prevent complications.

5. AVOID SMOKING AND EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of kidney disease and other health problems. If you smoke or drink, take steps to quit or reduce your intake.

By making some lifestyle adjustments, you can help support your kidneys and reduce your risk of kidney disease. If you think you may be struggling with kidney issues, contact your primary care provider.

Written by Memorial Health System

Memorial offers both primary care services and virtual visits. Learn more by visiting wearememorial.com or by calling (228) 867-5000.

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