Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that filter your blood and remove wastes and extra water to make urine. Each kidney contains tiny filtering units made up of blood vessels. These important organs also help control blood pressure and create hormones that your body needs to stay healthy. When your kidneys become damaged or begin to not function as well, your body can’t properly dispose of waste – causing waste can build up in your body.
Several factors can lead to diminished kidney function. Aging plays a part in reduced kidney function because the number of filtering units in the kidney and kidney tissues can decrease over time. The blood vessels supplying blood to your kidneys may harden, which also causes your kidneys to filter blood more slowly.
Certain medications can also build-up in the kidneys and result in diminished kidney function. For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and some antibiotics can cause acute kidney injury, in some situations. If your kidneys begin to filter less effectively as you age, you may be more likely to have complications from certain medications.
Know your risk
More than 20 million Americans may have kidney disease and many more are at risk of developing kidney disease. Kidney disease means the kidneys are damaged and can no longer remove wastes and extra water from the blood, as they should. There are certain risk factors that might make you more likely to develop kidney disease.
These risk factors include:
high blood pressure
family history of kidney problems
Kidney damage and disease happens slowly, as more and more filtering units are damaged. As this damage progresses, your kidneys are unable to maintain your body’s overall health. Eventually, kidney failure can occur and end-stage renal disease develops, which must be treated by dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Test your kidney health
Early kidney disease usually has no symptoms, which means you could have the disease and not be at all aware of your dangerous health condition.
Taking a kidney function test, such as a blood or urine test is the only way to check for kidney damage or measure kidney function. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure, you should be tested for kidney disease. Even those who do not have these risk factors may benefit from exploring kidney health tips, including understanding the current health of their kidneys through testing.
Walk-In Lab provides kidney function test options that determine if your organs are properly regulating the amount of water and salts in your body and whether the kidneys are efficiently filtering blood and aiding in eliminating waste products.
Renal function tests paint a more specific picture of your kidney health by measuring the levels of urea, creatinine, and certain dissolved salts that can help determine if the kidneys are functioning properly.
Make a plan for kidney health
Ordering an online kidney blood test from Walk-In Lab is your first step in preventing and diagnosing renal disease. There are other kidney health tips to help you focus on kidney health. National Kidney Month provides the perfect opportunity to make these life changes.
Below are several ways to focus on the health of your kidneys:
- Control blood pressure and blood sugar levels. High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of kidney disease. Even slightly elevated levels in your blood pressure and glucose can damage kidneys.
- Watch your weight. Extra weight means your kidneys have to work harder to filter toxins and keep up with the metabolic demands of your increased body mass. Obesity can also lead to the development of kidney disease risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Don’t light up. Smoking can further advance diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. Quit smoking to protect your kidneys and make a commitment to protect your overall health.
- Eat healthy. Healthy food choices each day will reduce your risk of developing kidney disease. Reduce your salt intake and avoid processed foods.
- Think twice about pain medications. Avoid excessive use of medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen, which put stress on the kidneys and can permanent harm.
During the month of March, Walk-In Lab is recognizing National Kidney Month by offering 20% off select tests and panels for kidney disease.