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Laurel Health – Care About Your Kidneys
The statistics are startling—26 million Americans are currently affected by chronic kidney disease, and it’s estimated an additional 73 million Americans are at risk. Yet, preventative measures are easily achievable by patients who are educated as to what steps they can take to improve kidney health. Today, WHP correspondent Morgan Koziar met with Dr. George Dy to learn more.
The kidneys are crucial organs that perform several regulatory functions in the body. “[The] kidney works like the filtration system of our body – so it pretty much removes waste products that our body doesn’t need,” says Dr. Dy, adding,“…The kidney also regulates the salt and acid balance in our body…it also makes hormones that [help] our body [make] blood. It also helps make another hormone that helps regulate blood pressure.”
Obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes put people at the greatest risk for developing kidney disease. However, other factors include some autoimmune diseases and genetic predisposition. Even long term use of certain over-the-counter medications can contribute to the problem, since the kidneys are responsible for filtering excess medication out of the bloodstream.
Dr. Dy stressed the importance of a yearly physical with your doctor as the best early detection method. “Patients with kidney failure, especially in their early stage, will not have any symptoms,” he cautions, “so it’s very important to see your family doctor to have, at the least, a yearly check-up.” He names blood and urine tests as some simple screening methods.
Dr. Dy also offered several helpful tips to maintain kidney health, including the following:
1. Stay hydrated. Drink at least 4-6 glasses of water a day.
2. Exercise regularly. This decreases risk of obesity and hypertension, as well as diabetes, reducing your risk of developing kidney disease. However, be sure to avoid dehydration and overexertion, since these are both harmful to your kidneys.
3. Eat a balanced diet. Your diet should be abundant in fresh produce as well as wholegrains. Fat and salt intake should be minimal. (Dr. Dy recommends limiting salt intake to 2300mg a day.) This, again, helps with obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.
4. Don’t smoke. Smoking does damage to your blood vessels and decreases blood flow to your kidneys, which in turn increases your risk of kidney cancer and kidney failure.
5. Be careful with over-the-counter drugs. Medications like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), as well as many antacids, can be harmful to kidney health if taken repeatedly and frequently.
Dr. George Dy, MD is a board certified physician in internal medicine, nephrology, and pediatrics with the Mansfield Laurel Health Center. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Laurel Health Care, visit LaurelHC.org or call 570-662-2002.
Produced by Vogt Media