Kidneys are the two bean-shaped organs located below the rib cage, on each side of our spine, around the size of our fists. The organ’s primary function is to remove waste products and excess liquids from our body through urine. Kidneys also maintain sodium, potassium, and acid levels in our blood.
However, specific changes in our lifestyle can disrupt the functioning of our kidneys, leading to kidney diseases in the long run. Kidney failure or chronic kidney disease is one of them, which can force us to rely on dialysis.
However, there are specific ways by which we can improve our kidney function to lessen our dependency on dialysis. This article will discuss how to improve kidney function to avoid dialysis.
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What Is Dialysis?
Dialysis is a medical treatment used when kidneys stop working correctly to remove unwanted toxins, waste products, and excess fluids from the blood. The dialysis machine acts like an external kidney and filters out all the toxins from the body.
Fluid is introduced into the peritoneal cavity via the catheter. As blood circulates through the vessels lining the peritoneal cavity, waste products and surplus fluid are extracted from the blood and transferred into the dialysis solution. After a few hours, the used fluid is drained into a bag and replenished with fresh fluid.
When Is Dialysis Needed?
Dialysis is needed when a patient develops End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), due to which the kidney’s filtering characteristic becomes ineffective and cannot filter out toxic substances.
How Can We Improve Kidney Function To Avoid Dialysis?
The average cost of dialysis is $300 to $600 per month in India. Recent studies by NIH have shown that high blood pressure and diabetes are common causes of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. Analyzing the causes of kidney failure and working on them can help you improve your kidney function to avoid dialysis.
The following are some ways to improve kidney function to avoid dialysis:
1. Healthy Food Choices:
Making specific changes in your diet can do wonders for your kidney’s health, like:
- Avoid fast food items.
- Increase the portion of veggies in your diet. E.g., Adding lettuce or broccoli to your sandwiches or pizzas.
- As a proverb says, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Consider adding at least one fruit filled with high fiber and antioxidants, like grapes, watermelons, or apples.
- Avoid foods high in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.
The table below consists of relevant vitamins for your kidney’s health, especially in case of chronic kidney failure. As kidney function takes a hit because of diseases, it becomes difficult for the organ to process fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin E. In such cases, it is advised to consume food items having water-soluble vitamins so that there is no pressure on the kidneys.
|Essential Vitamins Required for Kidney Health||Benefits and Importance||Source of the Vitamin|
||Citrus fruit such as oranges, orange juice, peppers, potatoes, strawberry blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts,|
|Vitamin B1 or Thiamine||
||Liver, nuts, peas, whole grain bread, some fortified breakfast cereals, fresh fruits like bananas and oranges,|
|Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin||
||Beef, tofu, lean pork chops, low-fat milk, mushrooms, salmon, spinach.|
|Vitamin B3 or Niacin||
||Nuts and seeds, brown rice, fish, liver, pork, beef, poultry, red meat.|
|Vitamin B7 or Biotin||
||Cereal, whole grain, egg yolk, nut, butter, banana, cauliflower, organ meat|
|Vitamin B9 or Folate||
||Chickpeas, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, brussels sprouts,|
|Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid||
||Whole grains, peanuts, poultry, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, organ meat, beef,|
||Cereal, milk, yogurt, beef, liver, chicken, fish, shellfish,.|
||Oats, peanuts, bananas, soya beans, poultry, chicken, pork|
Note: If you have Chronic Kidney Disease (CDK), you should avoid vitamins A, D, E, and K as they are fat-soluble vitamins that build up until your doctor prescribes them. Vitamin A, in particular, may increase toxic levels with daily supplements.
2. Physical Activities:
Physical activity can improve muscle functions and control blood pressure and cholesterol. According to the CDC, a healthy adult should work at least 150 minutes weekly. Your workout can include physical activities like jogging, swimming, yoga, zumba, etc. Make small goals to make the workout a part of your daily routine. For example, start with running or jogging 1 km a day for a week and keep on increasing the distance with every passing week or a forthnight. Integrating physical activity into your daily routine can help improve kidney function to avoid dialysis.
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3. Healthy Weight:
Being overweight can force your organs to work harder in your body, which can put undue pressure on them, leading to problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. These two diseases are the two main factors of kidney disease. Physical exercise clubbed with a mindful diet can help you maintain a decent Body Mass Index (BMI) to avoid obesity. It can also help you to manage your body posture and structure better. This way, you can maintain your health and improve kidney function.
4. Not Getting Enough Sleep:
According to NIH, kidneys are influenced by your sleep-wake cycle, controlling your body’s metabolic and physiological demands 24/7. A shorter sleep cycle can lead to an increase in kidney defects. A human body needs at least 8 hours of sleep to function correctly during the day. An impaired sleep cycle can lead to hormonal disbalance, which can interfere with bodily processes at the molecular level. This can put pressure on your organs, which, in the long run, can deteriorate your kidney’s health.
5. Avoid Alcohol & Tobacco Consumption:
Alcohol and tobacco consumption affects many body parts, and kidneys are no exception. Alcohol and tobacco impact your hormones like erythropoietin, which helps to stimulate red blood cells, and renin, which helps to maintain blood pressure. They also slow down your kidneys, which can interfere with waste removal. Alternatively, you may drink non-alcoholic drinks like measured portions of black coffee, unsweetened green tea, smoothies made of oats, and different fruits. These alternatives are suitable for the kidneys and improve kidney function.
6. Reduce Stress:
Stress has become a common phrase in our everyday lives, personal or work. Stress has been known to increase your blood pressure and heart rate, which can damage your kidneys. As the blood-filtering organ of your body, they are especially vulnerable to problems regarding blood circulation and blood vessels.
There are various ways to lower your stress, like picking a hobby like reading books, journals, cooking, or playing any of your favorite sports like football, table tennis, etc. Swimming, yoga, singing, and dancing courses are also excellent options. In this way, you can improve the kidney function to avoid dialysis.
7. Manage Diseases:
The best method to prevent kidney damage if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other heart condition, is to keep your blood glucose level at an optimal level. Get regular checkups, keep track of your diabetic meds, and maintain a balanced diet to improve kidney function to avoid dialysis.
Cholesterol is one of the reasons for chronic kidney diseases. There are two types of cholesterol: LDL or “BAD” and HDL or “GOOD”. LDL or “BAD” cholesterol should be in control to avoid clogging your blood vessels, heart strokes, and kidney failures. HDL or “GOOD” cholesterol should be optimal to remove the bad cholesterol from your body. A reduction of good cholesterol can also lead to chronic kidney disease.
Kidneys are essential organs in your body, like your heart, liver, or lungs. You have to keep yourself healthy and adapt to some good habits of your daily life.
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