How to prevent kidney failure: 14 steps (with pictures)

How to prevent kidney failure: 14 steps (with pictures)
How to prevent kidney failure: 14 steps (with pictures)

You might think that the kidneys' only function is to filter out harmful and toxic substances produced by the body, but in reality, they also regulate blood pressure, protect bones, and maintain the balance between minerals and fluids in the body. body, among others. Unfortunately, one in three people in Western countries is at risk of developing chronic kidney disease. This disease manifests itself most of the time following another disorder (such as diabetes or heart disease) and progresses over several months or years. However, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing conditions that can make your kidneys work harder.


Part 1 of 3: improve your diet

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Step 1. Consume less salt

Watch how much sodium you take daily and limit it to 2300 mg, or about a teaspoon of salt. If sodium is consumed in excessive amounts, fluids build up in the body, causing shortness of breath and swelling. Try seasoning your meals with herbs or other spices, not salt, and stop consuming foods high in sodium. These include:

  • sauces
  • salty snacks
  • salty foods and cold meats
  • canned food and ready meals
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Step 2. Limit your sugar intake

Studies have shown that sugar promotes the development of diabetes and obesity, two causes of chronic kidney disease. One tip for reducing your sugar intake is to always read food labels. Indeed, many of them contain sugar, even if they are not considered sweet foods. For example, breakfast cereals, white breads and condiments contain a lot of it.

  • Remember to limit your intake of soft drinks, as they contain a very high amount of sugar. They also contain phosphorus additives that are harmful to the kidneys and have no nutritional value.
  • Keep in mind that sugar comes by different names. In fact, there are at least 61 different names for sugar. These include saccarose, high fructose corn syrup, barley malt, dextrose, maltose, rice syrup, glucose, cane juice, etc.
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Step 3. Prepare your meals

When preparing your own meals, you have the option of choosing whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that have gone through little processing. Packaged and processed foods contain high amounts of sodium and phosphorus, which are harmful to the kidneys. Aim to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

In general, the size of a serving of fruit or vegetables is the size of the palms of your hands. One serving is roughly the amount of food you can hold in your hand

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Step 4. Avoid foods high in protein and saturated fat

Studies are still being done to establish the link between high protein diets and chronic kidney disease. While you shouldn't avoid fat or protein, you should limit your intake of red meat, whole dairy products, and saturated fat to just a few times a week. If you have kidney disease, your kidneys have to work harder to remove waste products from the body after eating and digesting meat. Among the food products rich in saturated fat, there are:

  • processed meats: cold cuts, sausages and salted meats,
  • butter, ghee, bacon,
  • cream,
  • hard cheeses,
  • palm oil and coconut oil.
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Step 5. Eat foods containing unsaturated fat

You shouldn't avoid fat altogether. Unsaturated fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (which include omega-3 fatty acids), can lower cholesterol naturally and therefore lower the risk of heart disease, which can lead to kidney problems. To include unsaturated fat in your diet, consume it.

  • oily fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines
  • lawyers
  • nuts and seeds
  • sunflower, rapeseed and olive oils

Part 2 of 3: Make Lifestyle Changes

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Step 1. Exercise

Being overweight and obese increases the risk of chronic kidney disease. You should exercise to lose weight and lower your blood pressure, both of which help reduce the likelihood of developing kidney disease. You should get at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity every week.

  • Studies show that obese people are twice as likely to develop chronic kidney disease. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is over 30, you are considered an obese person.
  • Some examples of moderate exercise are walking, cycling and swimming.
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Step 2. Avoid smoking

You might think that smoking primarily damages the lungs, but it can also cause heart disease. Heart disease, heart attacks and strokes are all problems that can compromise kidney function, resulting in the development of kidney disease. Fortunately, if you stop smoking, you will be able to reduce the occurrence of this disorder.

If you are a heavy smoker, talk to your doctor about cessation therapy. Your doctor may recommend nicotine patches or psychotherapy sessions

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Step 3. Limit your alcohol intake

When you drink alcohol, your blood pressure and cholesterol rise, which promotes high blood pressure and can also cause kidney failure. You don't have to stop drinking alcohol completely, but you should limit your intake to 2 drinks per day (for men under 65) or 1 drink per day (for women).

One glass is equivalent to 350 ml of beer, 150 ml of wine or 45 ml of distilled spirits (liqueurs)

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Step 4. Get regular check-ups

Since kidney disease is difficult to detect until it is at an advanced stage, you should see a doctor and have regular check-ups. If you are in good health, are not predisposed to this disorder, are not overweight with a BMI less than 30, make an appointment every 2 or 3 years. If you are healthy and between 30 and 40 years old, see a doctor every two years. If you are healthy and are 50 years old, you can have your checkup every year.

If you have already been diagnosed with another chronic condition, such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes, it is important to see your doctor regularly to manage the condition and prevent chronic kidney disease

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Step 5. Take the pain relievers correctly

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers can harm the kidneys if you take high doses for a long time. Taking a high dose for a short time may temporarily impair kidney function. If you are taking aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, or naproxen sodium, carefully follow the manufacturer's directions for dosage.

  • Ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen are in the same pharmacological class, so taking a combination of these drugs at the same time can cause kidney problems.
  • Paracetamol is metabolized by the liver, not the kidneys, which means you should choose this medicine if you have kidney problems (as long as you don't have liver problems).
  • Always tell your doctor about any medications you are taking, as pain relievers (even those over the counter) can interfere with other drug products.

Part 3 of 3: Recognize kidney failure and seek treatment

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Step 1. Watch for symptoms

You may not notice them immediately because kidney failure takes time to fully manifest itself. Signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • an increase or decrease in the frequency of urination,
  • fatigue,
  • nausea,
  • itching and dry skin
  • the presence of blood in the urine or dark foamy urine,
  • muscle cramps or fasciculations,
  • swelling around the eyes, feet or ankles
  • confusional states,
  • difficulty breathing, concentrating or sleeping.
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Step 2. Assess the risk factors

While preventing kidney disease is important to anyone, it is even more important if you have any pathological predisposition. The risk factors increase if you have a history of diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. For example, people of African, Hispanic, and Native American descent are at higher risk for kidney disease, as are people over the age of 60.

Also, if you have a family history of kidney disease, you are at increased risk due to the genetic factor

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Step 3. Get medical attention

Since many of the symptoms of chronic kidney disease are similar to symptoms of other diseases, it is important to get a doctor's examination if you have any of them. Your doctor may order blood and urine tests to check kidney function. From the test results, he can then diagnose the condition or find out if you have other disorders causing similar symptoms.

Let them know about your medical history, if you are taking any medications, and if you have any concerns about kidney health

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Step 4. Follow the prescribed treatment exactly

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, you will need to treat the underlying disease. For example, if a bacterial infection is causing your symptoms, you may need to take antibiotics. However, since kidney failure is a chronic disease, the doctor can only treat the complications that result from it.

  • If the kidney disease is at a severe stage, you may need to consider dialysis sessions or even kidney transplantation.
  • Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat the complications. In particular, you may be on medication to manage high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, relieve swelling, treat anemia, and protect bones.

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