Prevention is better than cure. It’s what we have been hearing from our childhood. But we tend to ignore that as life just tales over. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is the eighth leading cause of death in India. So how does one prevent CKD? A leading specialist has these suggestions for you to follow which should hopefully keep you far away from this worrisome disease. Team RetyrSmart
Don’t let kidney disease mess with your retirement
Here’s how to ensure your kidneys continue to function well.
- Get checked and cut back
Most often, the condition is caused by diabetes and hypertension. High sugar levels damage blood vessels all over the body, so it could affect the kidneys, the eyes, the heart and the small blood vessels and nerves in the feet and brain. Meanwhile, blood pressure causes blood vessels to thicken, and reduces the supply of blood to vital organs — again, resulting in damage to many organs, including the kidneys. Everyone over the age of 40 must get tested for diabetes and blood pressure once a year. There’s a very high incidence of diabetes and BP in our country, so it’s also advisable to cut down on your consumption of sugar and salt. I am part of a group that runs the ‘Ek Chammach Kam’ (one spoon less) campaign. The idea behind it is to encourage people to cut their consumption of salt, oil and sugar — by one spoon (teaspoon or tablespoon, whichever they prefer) — every day.
- Know your numbers
This point is of particular importance if you are diabetic or hypertensive. As doctors, we often find that patients are not aware of what is “normal”. Patients say things like “165/100 is normal BP for me,” but it doesn’t work that way. Your systolic (upper) blood pressure reading should be between 130 and 140, and the diastolic reading, or the bottom number should be 80. Similarly, your “fasting blood sugar” should be less than 110, and the reading for a random sugar test should be below 140. Two hours after meals, blood sugar can go to 140-150, but otherwise, it should always be below that.
- Be particular about hygiene
Urinary tract infections can cause kidney disease too. Women are more susceptible to UTI than men because of anatomical reasons — the female urethra is very short and this allows bugs to move easily from the anal region to the urinary system. Besides, because of a dearth of toilets, women tend to avoid passing urine, and unclean toilets affect women more than men — these lead to repeated urinary infections, which would be marked by a burning sensation while urinating, fever, and so on. To prevent UTI, ensure the toilet you use is clean, maintain personal hygiene, and should a UTI occur, make sure you take the course of antibiotics your doctor prescribes.
- Prevent kidney stones
These tend to occur in people who consume insufficient amounts of water. The stones tend to grow, causing blockages of the tubes that carry urine. This puts pressure on the kidneys, and, over time, can lead to kidney disease. Stones can also cause friction in the kidney area, which leads to damage. besides this, stones may pick up urinary infections. To prevent stones from forming, drink lots of water, cut down on salt, and ensure your diet is rich in protein and fibre. Eat vegetables and fruits, and include soups and salads in your diet, too.
- Act promptly
If your feet swell up, you could have a condition known as glomerulonephritis, and you don’t want to ignore that. This is an immune injury to the kidney that is completely correctable if caught in early stages, but by three months, the damage becomes permanent – and these patients end up with long term problems. To prevent it, all you need to do is get a simple urine test done at any lab every year. The results will give your doctor a clue as to whether you are at risk. If the lab results show an abnormal loss of protein through urine, that’s an indicator. The normal protein count would say “trace” but if the protein level in the urine is 2+ or 3+, you should see a doctor immediately.