Did you know every day, your kidneys filter 200 liters of blood? Most people aren’t aware of how important our kidneys are. That’s in part why National Kidney Month began. Every March, health providers and educators immerse themselves into communities. Their focus is building paths to better kidney care.
The Major Functions of the Kidneys
When blood enters the kidneys, it is cleaned and returned to the body while toxins and other wastes are removed and turned into urine and excreted from the body. The kidneys also perform additional functions such as:
- Balancing fluids and minerals
- Controlling blood pressure
- Keeping bones healthy
- Regulating hormones
- Helping to make red blood cells
Chronic Kidney Disease and Your Health
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an umbrella term for various conditions that damage your kidneys and affect their function. When the kidneys cannot filter wastes from your blood, they can build to high levels and make you feel sick. As CKD worsens, you may develop complications like:
- High blood pressure
- Anemia (low blood count)
- Weak bones
- Nerve damage
Approximately 37 million adults have CKD, and most do not know it. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. Eventually, CKD may lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life. Diabetes and high blood pressure cause the majority of kidney disease cases.
Building Your Path to Kidney Health
During National Kidney Month, we encourage you to assess your risk for kidney disease and start building your path to kidney health. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recommends a three-fold approach:
- Work with your health care team as an active participant to create a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle, mobility, health status, and dietary needs.
- Take medicine as prescribed and stay updated on vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Build a healthy kidney lifestyle. Try to incorporate healthy habits into your daily schedule. This can include:
- Healthy foods and beverages you enjoy
- Physical activity like walking or taking the stairs can help you stay active and manage your weight
- Ensuring you get enough rest each day
You can check out volunteer opportunities taking place this month by visiting The National Kidney Foundation website.
Fundraising and Research
Fundraising is another focus this month, with various corporate and individual ways to contribute. Monies raised during March go towards vital research areas looking at changing how we understand, treat, and prevent kidney diseases. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so ongoing efforts strive to provide better kidney care by identifying new treatments to effectively manage each person’s disease type, environment, and lifestyle.
To learn more about getting involved in upcoming kidney disease research studies, contact Clinical Pharmacology of Miami at (305) 817-2900 or visit our studies webpage today!