Healthy regimen is the answer

Kidney trouble

The world observed World Kidney Day recently. Ironically, one in 10 Indians suffer from undiagnosed and undetected kidney disease. While kidney damage cannot be reversed, it can certainly be prevented and managed.

According to doctors and nephrologists, the risk of kidney disease can be reduced by living a healthy lifestyle that includes a good amount of daily physical activity, following basic urinary hygiene, consuming a healthy low sodium diet, reducing addiction to alcohol and smoke, adequate intake of water and abstaining from prolonged use of over-the-counter painkillers.

“With rapidly changing lifestyles, absence of physical activity, unhealthy eating habits, and highly stressful life conditions, there has been a rise in obesity, hypertension and Type II diabetes. Almost 50 per cent of people who have diabetes tend to develop kidney damage at some point of time in their lives. Similarly, high blood pressure causes almost a quarter of all cases of kidney failure. This means, a large number of kidney disease-related deaths can be averted if the epidemic of hypertension and diabetes are controlled,” said Dr PN Gupta, senior consultant, Nephrology, Paras Hospital, Gurgaon.

While Dr Rajiv Yadav, senior consultant, Department of Urology and Robotic Surgery, Medanta Hospital says “In our part of the country, we commonly observe two kinds of kidney issues which requires surgery - kidney stones and cancer.”

According to him, uncontrolled diabetes and long standing high blood pressure are two main causes for kidney failure. He says, “Smoking is one of the important risk factor for kidney cancers. Therefore, quit smoking to decrease your risk of developing kidney cancers.”

He suggests that after the age of 50, everyone should go for regular health checkups at least once a year and any episode of blood in urine should be investigated. “Ultrasound of kidney is one of the safe and easily available tests to detect kidney cancers at an early stage. In addition, patients suffering from long standing diabetes and high blood pressure should also go for regular checkup of the kidney.

“The only way to check this eventuality is to keep your blood sugar and blood pressure levels under constant check. This needs a regimented and disciplined life involving low sodium, low fat diet, regular physical exercise and regular monitoring of your blood sugar and blood pressure levels,” says Gupta.

Numerous researches have shown that a moderate to heavy exercise of 30 minutes daily can radically reduce the risk of a wide range of diseases including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity and even certain kinds of cancer.

Experts opine that we often underestimate the importance of water in our body. An adequate supply of water helps our kidneys get rid of excess toxins from the body.

“Often people with prolonged ailments like arthritis and joint pains consume painkillers on a daily basis. A number of such over-the-counter analgesics such as ibuprofen can cause harm to the kidneys when consumed on a sustained basis. Taking a painkiller or two once in a while is not a worrisome thing. However, if you need a sustained drug to reduce and manage pain, consult your doctor who will prescribe a kidney-safe drug for regular use,” explains Gupta.

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