NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – Not too long ago the world marked Kidney Day and hordes made their way to Uhuru Park where the Nairobi Hospital had set up a free medical camp for screening.
But at the back of our minds we all know that an annual screening is not enough, how can we actively seek to keep our kidneys healthy and ourselves, functional?
First though, let’s take a look at just why those fist sized twins which sit staring at each other deep in our abdomens, below the ribcage, are so important.
Well, the kidneys are famed for being the organs through which toxins and excess water are removed from the blood. And yes, that is the major role they play.
But that’s not all, did you know, your kidneys also control your body’s chemical balance, “they release various hormones and enzymes,” DrEssaji of the Nairobi Hospital tells us.
They regulate the amount of certain vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and potassium, they are involved in the process of red cell production; all helping to keep our bones healthy and control our blood pressure.
Now that we know just how integral a role our kidneys play in the normal functioning of our bodies, what can we do to keep them healthy?
It’s pretty simple really; stay active, drink plenty of water, reduce your salt intake, stop smoking and make sure to go for regular check-ups because kidney disease tends to sneak up on you, the more severe symptoms generally manifest in the more advanced stages of the disease.
There are also certain risk factors that you need to be on the lookout for; those who suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes, have a family history of kidney disease, smoke, are over 50 years of age and are either of African, Hispanic, Aboriginal or Asian origin need to be particularly vigilant.
So those who suffer from diabetes and/or high blood pressure need to ensure they take their medication as prescribed and we should all regularly get screened for kidney disease.
That being said, what should we all be on the lookout for where kidney disease is concerned?
If you experience swollen ankles, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, decreased appetite, nausea, muscle cramps, blood in the urine and foamy urine, you should definitely see a doctor.
But even if you are diagnosed with kidney disease, the condition is manageable through dialysis and treatable through a transplant if that’s an option but unfortunately, there is no cure.