More than 4 million Argentines suffer –to some degree– the so-called Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). That is, 1 in 8 people have problems with how your kidneys workand about 500,000 people do not know they have it: this makes the condition worse and, over time, the possibilities of treatment are more limited.
The information comes from the Second National Health and Nutrition Surveywhich determined that the prevalence of this disease is 12.7% of the population.
Chronic Kidney Disease is understood as “the presence of kidney damage for a period greater than 3 months”. This is evidenced by analyzing changes in kidney function and high numbers of so-called markers of kidney damage are detected.
Markers are abnormalities found in a urinalysis or structural abnormalities in kidney tissue that are detected by imaging studies or biopsy.
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The kidneys perform essential functions in our body: they mobilize waste products produced by the body (toxins) that are filtered from the blood and eliminated through the urine. They regulate blood pressure, eliminate excess fluid and electrolytes, and generate essential hormones for the proper functioning of our body.so taking care of the kidneys is essential.
Experts emphasize that the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits contributes a lot to the health of our kidneys. The doctor Cristina Vallvémember of the Renal Health Committee of the Argentine Society of Nephrologyexplains that “a person can lose between 80% and 90% of their kidney function before experiencing any symptoms”, so it is extremely important to have regular medical check-ups.
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Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease
The symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease generally appear when the disease is already very advanced and that is why the diagnosis is late. When it finally occurs, the signs and symptoms include the following:
- loss of appetite
- Fatigue, weakness and sleep problems
- Changes in urine output
- Decreased mental acuity
- Muscle spasms and cramps
- Swollen feet and ankles,
- High blood pressure
Diabetes, obesity and blood pressure, the main risk factors
Some of the factors that increase a person’s risk of Chronic Kidney Disease are diabetes, high blood pressure, and diseases of the cardiovascular system. Although they may be some of the main ones, other factors such as age, the use of pain relievers without a medical indication and obesity are also important.
Depending on the underlying cause, CKD can be treated. In general, available treatments offer various options that help control symptoms, reduce complications, and delay disease progression and kidney deterioration.
In the early stages of this situation, doctors often indicate an adequate hydration plan, opt for a healthy diet and stay physically activethree pillars common to many chronic diseases.
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The eight “golden rules” for good kidney health
The member of the Renal Health Committee of the Argentine Society of Nephrology mentions eight keys to keep in mind to keep kidney health under control:
1. Control blood pressure. It is one of the most frequent causes that alter the functioning of the kidneys.
2. Control blood sugar level. It is the first cause of development of renal deterioration. It is important that people with diabetes have frequent tests to monitor their kidney function.
3. Follow a healthy diet, rich in vegetables and control the weight, trying to keep it within adequate parameters. It is also important to reduce salt intake.
4. Stay hydrated. Water consumption should be around 1.5 or 2 liters per day.
5. Perform physical activity on a regular basis to stay active and at a proper weight. Exercise helps lower blood pressure and improve blood glucose, therefore reducing the risk of CKD.
6. No smoking. Smoking impairs circulation and therefore can affect kidney function.
7. Do not use drugs that can damage the kidneys (do not self-medicate)
8. Get routine checkups periodically and in these ask your doctor to check the health of your kidneys.
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