The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located under the ribcage, behind the abdomen. While they perform several roles, one of the most important ones is the elimination of toxins from your body by filtering blood and sending wastes out of your body via urine. Many people have two working kidneys but life is assured even when only one is working effectively.
However, if one or both of your kidneys fail to work effectively, the result would be the dangerous buildup of waste products and toxins in your body, and when this happens, you may start feeling sick. Most often than not, this is called kidney failure which simply means one or both of your kidneys can no longer function well on their own.
People whose kidneys have become damaged often require dialysis or a kidney transplant and they could continue to live for long. However, considering the costs and emotional turmoil that could come with kidney failure, it is important to avoid things that could lead to it and devise means of identifying it early in order to manage it effectively.
Early discovery of chronic diseases including kidney disease, which could potentially lead to kidney failure, can be done by regular medical tests. Another effective way is by identifying some of the warning signs your kidneys may give when they are not working properly. With that in mind, below are a few of the signs your kidneys would give when they are not working properly:
1. Swelling, especially around your hands or ankles – experiencing swelling around your hands and ankles may be a result of fluid buildup in your body due to the failure of your kidneys to remove the excess fluid.
2. Constant fatigue or extreme tiredness – you may also start having constant feelings of fatigue and extreme tiredness, especially in the morning when you’ve newly woken up.
3. Stomach upset and vomiting – due to the failure of your kidneys to remove waste products from your body, you may also start experiencing nausea, vomiting, as well as stomach upset.
4. Increased urination – you may start noticing that you visit the bathroom more frequently than before. This is always one of the warning symptoms of one or more kidney-related conditions.
5. Poor appetite or metallic taste of food – another possible sign that your kidneys are not working well may be poor appetite. Apart from this, the foods you eat may have a strange, metallic taste.
6. Dry or itchy skin.
7. Confusion or trouble concentrating.
8. Muscle cramps.
Two of the most common culprits that often interfere with the kidney’s ability to work effectively are high blood pressure and unmanaged diabetes. However, other possible causes include autoimmune kidney diseases, use of certain medications, urinary tract obstruction, severe dehydration, and uncontrolled systemic diseases like heart or liver disease.
At this point, it is worth stating that kidney failure as a result of chronic kidney disease cannot be reversed. However, while this is true, there are certain ways to preserve or prevent putting your kidneys in harm way and this often revolves around imbibing healthy habits and routines that are known to help slow down the loss of kidney function.
With that in mind, below are a few healthy habits and routines you may have to engage in if you have one or more of the symptoms of chronic kidney disease or kidney failure mentioned above:
1. Regular monitoring of your kidney function with your doctor’s aid.
2. If you have diabetes, ensure that your blood sugar levels are monitored and kept under control.
3. Watch your blood pressure levels and strive to keep them in a normal range.
4. Avoid smoking as it affects several organs in your body including your lungs and kidneys.
5. Imbibe a healthy diet choice by limiting the intake of foods that are high in sodium and protein content.
Seeing as diet can also help preserve the kidneys, what are some of the foods that could be eaten to preserve the kidneys, especially by those with one or more symptoms of kidney disease or failure? Such foods include water, fatty fish, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens (spinach and kale), berries and apples.
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