Most people have two kidneys about the size of a fist on either side of your spine under the lower ribs. Did you know your kidneys are just as important as your heart and lungs?
So, what do my kidneys do?
Kidneys are amazing organs that do many important tasks;
- Make urine
- Remove wastes and extra fluid from your blood
- Control your body’s chemical balance
- Control your blood pressure
- Keep your bones healthy
- Help you make red blood cells
Each of your kidneys has about a million tiny filters, called nephrons. If these filters are damaged, they stop working. For a while, the healthy nephrons can take on the extra work. However, if this damage continues to occur, more and more nephrons stop working.
Chronic kidney disease is a progressive loss in kidney function over a period of months or years.
Did you know that chronic kidney disease affects 1 out of 10 adults worldwide and left untreated it can be deadly.
When kidney function falls below a certain point, it is called kidney failure. Kidney failure affects your whole body, and can make you feel very ill.
So, how can I look after my kidneys and reduce my risk of chronic kidney disease?
- Keep fit and be active every day
- Eat a healthy diet low in salt
- Check and control your blood sugar if you have diabetes, or if you are at an increased risk
- Monitor and control your blood pressure – ask your GP to check your blood pressure at your next appointment
- Have a good daily fluid intake
- Don’t smoke, or start to think about quitting – if you need support try calling quitline 137 848
- Try to reduce your use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications as these can damage your kidneys
You can check your risk with this quick test
Ask your doctor to review your risk at your next appointment.