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How to Support National Kidney Month
March is National Kidney Month, a time to spread awareness about kidney health and kidney disease, and learn what you can do to support it. This is a great opportunity to educate yourself about how our kidneys contribute to our overall health.
Chronic kidney disease affects millions of people. Healthy lifestyle choices can help slow the progression of this disease, and for some, it can help avoid it.
This year, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases is making the focus on those currently managing kidney disease and taking charge of their health.3
What do our kidneys do?
To better understand kidney disease, it’s important to know how your kidneys work and what they do for your body.
Your body has two kidneys, on both sides of the spine, located just below the rib cage. A kidney is about the size of your fist.
Your kidneys perform many different essential processes in your body. According to the National Kidney Foundation, some of these functions include:
- Removing excess fluid from the body
- Filtering blood
- Controlling the production of red blood cells
- Helping to regulate blood pressure
- Making vitamins and regulating nutrients in the body
Simply put, you can think of kidneys as filters in the human body. Kidneys regulate and remove waste as well as toxic substances.
There are many different kidney conditions. Here are some of the most common ones you should be aware of.
Kidney stones are fairly common, and you might know someone who had one. Kidney stones are created when minerals form in urine – more than fluid can dilute – and they can become large enough to block the flow of your urine.5
Some kidney stones can resolve themselves on their own, but if they become large enough, they might require medical attention.
Kidney failure affects how well your kidneys work, and this can be acute or chronic. Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys can no longer filter waste from the blood properly and effectively.6 This causes waste and harmful toxins to accumulate, which can be dangerous for your body.
End-stage Renal Disease
End-stage renal disease is the complete loss of kidney functioning, commonly referred to as kidney disease.5 Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney disease, with high blood pressure following as the second leading cause.2
The severity of this disease depends on how well the kidneys are filtering blood. This disease can take years to develop, but it can also progress very quickly in some individuals.2 Kidney disease often requires dialysis or a transplant.
How do I know?
There are common symptoms associated with various kidney conditions and diseases. According to Healthline Media, some of these symptoms include:
- Increased or decreased urination
- Blood in urine
- Muscle cramps
- Swollen feet or ankles
- Reduced appetite
If you’re experiencing any symptoms and want to learn more about your risk of a kidney condition, consult with your doctor or medical professional.
When it comes to diagnosing a condition, there are many different tests that doctors can use to discover a kidney problem or kidney disease.
Most urine and regular blood tests can show how your kidneys are currently functioning. If something looks off on one of these tests, a doctor may order more in-depth tests, such as a MRI, ultrasound, or biopsy.
How can I help this month?
Now that you know more about what National Kidney Month stands for, you may be wondering how you can help make a difference.
There are a few things you can do to help support National Kidney Month and those with kidney disease.
Take care of your kidneys
One of the best things you can do this month is to continue learning how you can take care of your kidneys.
Here are some simple things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy:
- Limit your salt intake. An extreme amount of salt can cause a disruption in the balance of minerals in your body, which makes it more difficult for the kidneys to function. Eat a balanced diet and limit how much salt you consume to keep your kidneys healthy.
- Exercise. High blood pressure is a risk factor for kidney disease, and physical activity can help lower blood pressure. Exercise helps the heart get stronger, which in turn helps your heart pump blood with less effort and can lower your blood pressure.
- Stay hydrated. Our kidneys perform best when they have plenty of water to remove toxins. To stay hydrated, you should drink the appropriate amount of ounces in water each day, which can depend on your weight.
- Be aware of medications. There are some over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, that can cause kidney damage over a period of time. Know the risks of your medication and how it could be affecting your kidneys.
If you want to make a difference in the lives of those who suffer from kidney disease, you can donate to organizations that help those who can’t afford medical treatments that the disease desperately requires.
The National Kidney Foundation accepts monetary donations which help people with treatment, care, and more. You have the option to donate once or monthly, and can choose whichever amount you are comfortable with.
To learn more about this donation process, click here.
Another simple way you can help is to spread awareness. March is National Kidney Month and March 11th is World Kidney Day.
Do your part to research and spread the word about what this month stands for. The more that people know about kidney disease and kidney conditions, the more people will be aware to look out for symptoms in themselves and their loved ones.
Volunteering is a great way to help support any cause. There are numerous ways you can volunteer for National Kidney Month, and the National Kidney Foundation suggests some ideas for volunteer opportunities:
- Kidney Walks
- Advocacy programs
- KEEP Healthy Screenings/Programs
- NKF Konica Minolta Golf Classic
To learn more about these volunteer opportunities, click here.
Saber Healthcare Supports National Kidney Month
Saber Healthcare is proud to spread awareness for a significant cause such as National Kidney Month. We hope that you learned a little more about kidney health, kidney disease, and what you can do to make a difference.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Kidneys and Your Health.” National Kidney Foundation, kidney.org. Accessed March 4th, 2021. https://www.kidney.org/phi/form?version=health.
- “March is National Kidney Month.” DaVita Inc., DaVita Kidney Care. Accessed March 4th, 2021. https://www.davita.com/education/kidney-disease/risk-factors/march-is-national-kidney-month.
- “National Kidney Month 2021.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Accessed March 4th, 2021. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/community-health-outreach/national-kidney-month.
- “How Your Kidneys Work.” National Kidney Foundation, kidneyorg. February 25th, 2021. Accessed March 3rd, 2021. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/howkidneyswork.
- Hoffman, Matthew. “Picture of the Kidneys.” WebMD LLC, webmd.com. August 7th, 2019. Accessed March 4th, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/kidney-stones/picture-of-the-kidneys.
- “Acute Kidney Failure.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. July 23rd, 2020. Accessed March 5th, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kidney-failure/symptoms-causes/syc-20369048.
- Jewell, Tim and Stephens, Carissa. “Kidney Overview.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. May 22nd, 2018. Accessed March 4th, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/kidney.