One in three Australian adults has an increased risk of developing kidney disease, one in seven shows at least one sign of existing kidney damage and one in 35 actually has chronic kidney disease.
You may be at risk of kidney disease if you fit into one or more of the following categories:
* High blood pressure
* Family history of kidney disease
* Over 50
* Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
The good news is that kidney failure can be prevented if it is detected early and managed appropriately. If you fall into any of the at-risk groups you should talk to your doctor about a kidney performance check.
A kidney performance check is three simple tests that can be done by your doctor. They include a urine test to look for proteinuria (protein in the urine), a blood test to check kidney function and a blood pressure test.
If kidney disease is detected early and appropriate treatment is given, you can significantly improve the life of your kidneys. If all three tests come back negative, you are unlikely to develop serious kidney disease. However, it is still important to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Top Five Tips to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
The role of kidneys is often underrated when we think about our health.
Although only small organs, the kidneys are responsible for removing waste and fluid from the body, helping to control blood pressure, assisting with the production of red blood cells, and helping to keep our bones strong.
You can lose up to 90 per cent of kidney function without realising it, by which time it is almost impossible to prevent further serious problems. However, there are a number of ways you can reduce your risk of kidney disease:
1. Maintain a healthy weight - do regular physical activity and eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables
Being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, which are major risk factors for kidney disease
2. Be a non-smoker
Smokers are three times more likely to have reduced kidney function, not to mention four to five times greater risk of heart attack and stroke
3. Drink water instead of sweet, sugary drinks
Water satisfies thirst without any kilojoules
4. Drink alcohol only in moderation
Limit alcohol to two standard drinks per day for men, and one per day for women
5. Be aware of your family history and visit your doctor for a yearly health check
Ask your doctor for a kidney performance test
KIDNEY WATCH AUSTRALIA
Do you have unhealthy kidneys?
One in three adult Australians is at an increased risk of kidney disease, and one in seven shows at least one sign of existing kidney damage.
Most of us take our kidneys for granted, and many do not even know what they do. However, with an ageing population and increase in diabetes, the number of new patients with kidney failure is growing at the rate of 6% each year.
The kidneys have four main roles:
* Remove waste by filtering toxins from the body via urine
* Remove excess water from the body
* Make and regulate important hormones in the body
* Control body chemistry by regulating the amount of salt, water and other chemicals circulating in the body
Kidney disease often has no symptoms but you may be able to tell if your kidneys are not well through:
* Blood in your urine
* Puffiness around your eyes and ankles
* Pain in the kidney area
It is not uncommon for people to lose up to 90% of their kidney function before developing any symptoms. It is important that you make a kidney performance check part of your yearly health assessment.
For kidney health information and advice call the Kidney Health Info Line (freecall) 1800 682 531 or TTY 1800 005 881, or visit the Kidney Health Australia website www.kidney.org.au
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