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Aging and Chronic Kidney Disease: Are You at Risk?

Today is World Kidney Day, and while we may not think about our kidneys very much, they are vital organs that we need to function properly especially as we age. This year WKD is focused on chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its impact on aging.

Why take care of our kidneys?

Our kidneys help us remove waste and excess fluids from our bodies through urine. Kidneys, however, also play other important roles, such as release the hormones that regular our blood pressure and produce vitamin D, which helps to strengthen and keep bones healthy.

If you suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, it is even more important to take care of your kidneys because you face a higher risk of CKD:

Approximately 1 of 3 adults with diabetes and 1 of 5 adults with high blood pressure has CKD. Kidney disease also increases your chances of suffering from cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

For more information, check out this CDC fact sheet on CKD.

Who is at risk for kidney disease?

The problem with kidney disease is that its symptoms are not obvious, making early detection difficult. In fact, more than 10% of adults in the United States have CDK and are not aware of their condition.

Risk factors include:

–       Being Latino

–       Being over the age of 50

–       Suffering from high blood pressure

–       Having diabetes

–       Having a relative with chronic kidney disease

What can I do to prevent CKD and help my parent/grandparent take care of their kidneys?

Here are some kidney-pleasing tips:

–       Check your blood pressure routinely. Normal blood pressure is at or below 120/80. Click here to learn more.

–       Schedule routine checks up that include urine and blood tests. (High levels of protein could indicate kidney disease. Also, your blood creatinine levels along with other factors, such as age, race, and gender will determine your glomerular filtration rate or GFR. GFR indicates how much kidney function you have.)

–       Make sure you are hydrated throughout the day, and drink water. (Experts tend to recommend drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid every day. This could be water, tea, or juice. Remember that certain beverages have more sugar than others.)

–       Keep a healthy, low-sodium diet.

–       Participate in daily physical activity. Exercise is good for everyone!

–       If you or your loved is diabetic, consistently check blood sugar levels to ensure they are under control.

Watch this: The 8 Golden Rules and read this: CDC Kidney Health Tips.

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