Kidney failure often leads to death. Chronic kidney disease patients often undergo dialysis as their kidneys do not function in a normal way. Dialysis is a procedure to artificially clean the blood. It is an expensive treatment method and not every person can afford it for a long time. To prevent kidney diseases, certain precautions should be taken.
Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs in the excretory system of the body. Both in vertebrates and in some invertebrates, kidneys maintain water balance and removes metabolic wastes. They are located just below the rib-cage, one on either sides of the spine. When the body function impairs and the kidneys lose their ability to filter and flush out the waste, it is supposed to be the beginning of renal failure. Some signs and symptoms of kidney failure are:
- reduced urination
- legs, ankles, and feet begin to swell due to retention of fluids in the body
- pain or pressure in chest
- excessive drowsiness, nausea or fatigue
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There can be many reasons of a kidney failure such as heart disease, scarring of the liver or liver failure, dehydration, infections, uncontrolled diabetes, kidney stones, use of drugs and alcohol, blood clot in kidney, etc.Read about kidney anatomy.What precautions should be taken to avoid kidney failure?Kidneys not only maintain the fluid balance in the body but also protect the bones and maintain blood pressure. When a kidney disease is detected, one should consider these preventive measures to ensure better kidney health:
- Reduce the use of sugar in the diet to avoid any chances of diabetes. People already suffering from diabetes have higher chances of kidney failure and therefore, during chronic conditions, doctors recommend dialysis. Treatments through dialysis increase the chances of a person to survive but dialysis side effects can lead to other severe problems.
- Blood pressure level should be controlled as high blood pressure leads to damage of blood vessels resulting in kidney diseases.
- Maintaining body weight is important as an excessive weight can lead to a damage to the kidneys. Obesity also escalates the risk of occurrence of diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Limit or quit the use of alcohol and tobacco. Smoking damages blood vessels that causes reduced flow of blood in kidneys. Inadequate blood flow in kidneys disturbs the function of the kidneys.
- Excess use of over-the-counter medicines should be avoided as medicines such as ibuprofen and naproxen (NSAID’s) can cause kidney damage.
- Sometimes, high amounts of certain vitamin supplements and herbal extracts can be risky for the kidneys.
- Doctors suggest eating healthy foods i.e. diet high in fruits and vegetables such as cauliflower, garlic, onions, apples, cranberries. Beans and foods that are low in salt (sodium content), sugar and fats are supposed to be best.
- The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is recommended as it is a balanced and kidney-friendly diet.
- Avoid sauces, salted snacks, cured foods and lunch meats, processed or canned foods.
- One should drink plenty of water and avoid sugary carbonated drinks like soft drinks.
- Reduce saturated fats such as cheese, ghee, cream etc and eat unsaturated fats such as avocado, salmon, nuts and seeds, etc.
- Incorporating physical workout or any activity such as regularly exercising or getting involved in any sports activity is helpful for kidneys.
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Routine checkups are important during any kidney issue or if a person has diabetes and high blood pressure. Kidney problems should not be taken lightly by those who are at risk.