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Kidney health is typically represented in movies in the form of dialysis or as sudden kidney failure. Dr. House, with Hugh Laurie, accumulated a high number of kidney disorders during the 8 seasons the show ran, mostly used as a diagnostic symptom for the patients’ condition. So, perhaps we are so used to seeing representations of kidney disease on TV that we don’t realize how serious the condition can be.
Currently, kidney disease affects 37 million in the U.S., and around 90% of those people don’t even know they have it. What’s so scary about kidney disease is that you can’t recover from damage. You can live a fulfilling life with reduced kidney functions, but you may need to pay close attention to your health and lifestyle. Below review the risks of kidney disease and how it can affect your life. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you suspect your kidneys or any part of yourself isn’t feeling quite right.
Does kidney disease only happen to those with unhealthy diets?
Perhaps, this is the number one reason why too many Americans don’t think about getting their kidneys tested. Let’s be realistic: Carrying a lot of extra weight is bad for your health. It can affect your blood, such as increased blood sugar levels or high blood pressure. And your kidneys act essentially as a blood-filtering station. So, the correlation is pretty obvious.
However, there are plenty of other factors to consider. For instance, getting into a big car crash because you fail to be a safe driver could lead to kidney damage if your kidneys are hurt on impact.
Alcohol abuse can also destroy your kidneys. Heavy drinkers are twice as likely to experience kidney disease. Cutting down could save your kidneys (and various other organs in your body). Don’t be afraid to look into support groups or options like alcohol rehab if you have difficulty cutting down your alcohol intake.
Another alarming risk for kidney disease is potentially the Keto diet or any diet that focuses heavily on proteins. If you already have weakened kidney function without knowing it, a high protein diet puts a lot of pressure on your kidneys!
In short, kidney damage doesn’t always necessarily relate to your lifestyle.
What does it mean to have weakened kidney functions?
Believe it or not, but your kidney function decreases naturally during your lifetime. Seniors have weaker functions than young and healthy people, yet not every American over 65 is on dialysis. Indeed, a lot of people live a completely normal life even with a slightly lower function.
Individuals with severe kidney disease must be careful about other health conditions, such as infections or inflammation, which could go into the blood or weaken the immune system. It becomes a problem when the function decreases too fast and too soon because your kidneys can’t remove wastes from the blood anymore. Being on dialysis is, in fact, a lot more common than you think. Around 12.5% of the American population is on dialysis, according to NIDDK, and a small number of those receive a kidney transplant.
Individuals with severe kidney disease must be careful about other health conditions, such as infections or inflammation, which could go into the blood or weaken the immune system. Keeping up with medical checkups with your family doctor and your local dentist office can make a big difference. Patients with a transplant must take immunosuppressants for life, which means that even something as benign as a dental cavity could have devastating consequences.
In conclusion, kidney disease is a lot more common than we realize. If you wish to support your kidney health for longer, it’s important to stick to a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and avoid activities that could shock your kidneys. Also, remember to keep up with all your medical and dental appointments, as small issues left untreated could weaken your immune system. Be sure to speak with your doctor or medical professional is you have any questions.
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