An estimated 26 million American adults have kidney disease, and many do not even know it yet. That’s why during National Kidney Month, we’re sharing information to help raise awareness about this important issue. Kidneys are organs the size of your fist located at the base of your rib cage on both sides of the spine. Perhaps the most important job executed by the kidneys is to filter waste, excess water, and other impurities from the blood. Over the course of a single day, the kidneys filter around 200 liters of blood and produce one to two liters of urine. When kidneys fail, your body fills with excess waste. If left untreated, this condition — called uremia — can eventually lead to death.
Coexisting medical conditions can greatly impact the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease among the elderly. That’s why kidney disease treatments not only become more difficult with age, but can also diminish the quality of life for seniors. If you are over the age of 60, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease, you are at risk for contracting kidney disease. Here’s what you need to know to stay healthy during National Kidney Month.
What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease occurs when the organs are unable to filter impurities from your blood. The condition is progressive, and if left untreated, is irreversible without ongoing dialysis or a kidney transplant. That’s why taking care of your kidneys, especially if you are at risk for kidney disease, is crucial to maintaining long term health and vitality. As a result preventative testing can play a life-saving role in high-risk populations..
Unfortunately, kidney disease can be challenging to diagnose. That’s because the symptoms are often non specific, which means they’re often associated with other illnesses. That means kidney disease often goes undetected before reaching diagnoses. Some common symptoms include:
- High blood pressure
- Sleep problems
- Loss of appetite
- Persistent itching
- Blood in urine
- Puffy eyes
- Painful urination
- Increased thirst
What Can You Do To Prevent Kidney Disease?
Regular testing and taking preventative measures is especially important for seniors who want to prevent kidney disease. Fortunately, the National Kidney Foundation wants to make prevention easier. To help, they’re offering free screening through the KEEP Healthy Program throughout National Kidney Month. To locate a KEEP Healthy screening near you and to learn more about the risk factors for kidney disease, visit www.kidney.org/KEEPHealthy. With early prevention, doctors can treat kidney disease very effectively.
In the meantime, here are a few steps you can take to prevent kidney disease:
- High blood pressure and diabetes are the leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure. So, managing your blood pressure and sugar intake can slow the advance of kidney disease.
- Limit the use of over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. NSAIDs — nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — can lead to kidney damage if taken incorrectly. Over-the-counter pain medications should be avoided if you have kidney disease.
- Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Being active for just 30 minutes a day helps lower blood pressure and blood sugar which is an important role in kidney health.
- Eliminate processed foods. Processed foods contain high levels of sodium, nitrates, and phosphates, which researchers have not only linked to kidney disease but cancer and heart disease as well. Caretakers can have a significant impact here by helping seniors adopt a healthy diet and reduce their risk of developing kidney disease.
- Don’t smoke! Smoking increases blood pressure, reduces blood flow in the kidneys, and helps accelerate the advance of kidney disease. However, quitting smoking improves the chance of maintaining kidney health.
Treating Kidney Disease
Treating kidney disease helps to slow the progression of kidney damage by working to control the underlying cause. Certain chronic conditions that are common among seniors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can damage your kidneys. So, it is vital to keep any existing disorders under control. As part of your treatment plan, your healthcare professional may ask you to take certain medications to help protect your kidney function, lose weight if you are overweight, reduce your salt intake, and continue managing your diabetes if you have it. Our kidneys are vital to our overall health and wellness. That’s why we should guard our kidneys health, even when it isn’t National Kidney Month.
If you live in Arizona, Generations Home Care can help. Our caretakers work in our clients’ homes to help them with the day-to-day tasks that often become difficult with age. Whether it’s cooking, laundry, errands, medication reminders, or more, our caregivers provide seniors and their families with additional peace-of-mind.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.