Mark this date in your calendar: March 9. It's World Kidney Day.
It's a day to thank one of the most amazing organs in our body for its hard work you probably don't acknowledge enough.
But March 9 is not the only day you must thank your kidneys. American Hospital Dubai urges you to promote your kidney health every day of your life to keep them happy and free from disease.
Read on to learn everything about kidney health. Follow this path, and your kidneys will thank you! The secret to good health is when you love your organs and keep them healthy, and they love you back.
KIDNEY CHECK-UP PACKAGE
During March 2023, American Hospital Dubai is offering you a special Kidney check-up package, which includes:
Available across all our locations.
*Terms and conditions apply.
Complimentary POC testing of Creatinine & eGFR
On March 9th, we are also offering complimentary POC testing of Creatinine & eGFR at the hospital's main lobby, Outpatient Clinic, for visitors and patients.
Come and get tested!
What is POC testing?
POC means Point of Care. The test is done onsite, and the results are delivered immediately.
What are Creatinine POCT and eGFR? The test measures the levels of Creatinine, a waste product of daily muscle functions. The higher the creatinine levels in the blood, the less the kidneys clear it, suggesting kidney impairment.
eGFR or glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) indicates how efficiently kidneys are clearing out wastes from the blood. High eGFR rates (60 and above) mean healthy kidneys.
MEET YOUR KIDNEYS
Your kidney is about the size of your fist and nests below your rib cage, one on each side of your spine. Yes, the kidneys are a pair unless you neglect them and one or both part ways with you. But we will come to that later.
Why do we have two kidneys? Scientists call it bilateral symmetry. Some organs do a better job having a partner, like the lungs, eyes, ovaries, ureters, etc. Evolution probably has something to do with it.
Is it true you can live with one kidney? Yes, but with two, the workload is distributed.
WHAT IS THE KIDNEYS' JOB DESCRIPTION?
Kidneys have a heavy-duty task; they are the body's cleansing agents removing toxins, waste elements and excess water from the body as urine. Here's an idea of their workload:
WHAT DAMAGES KIDNEY HEALTH?
Several things can harm kidney health. Let's start with lifestyle habits:
Lack of hydration: How many glasses of water do you drink daily? Remember, the less you drink, the worse it is for your kidneys because without water, how will they make urine and help you cleanse your body of toxins? Water is the main element in body composition, and inadequate water consumption can stress the kidneys as they cannot do their job effectively. The result? A build-up of toxins in the body that stresses tissues and organs.
High animal meat diet: Do you love steaks and fillet mignons too much? Take it easy, says research. Overeating red meat can create an overload of toxins kidneys may be unable to handle. The body metabolizes animal meat into acids; a high-acid excess is a stressor for all organs, not just kidneys.
High-sugar and high-salt diet: Sugary foods increase blood sugar levels, simple. Bombarded with high sugar levels continuously, the teeny-tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, called nephrons, get damaged. The kidneys' infrastructure is strained, and they push the extra sugar into the urine. Welcome diabetes!
A high salt intake is equally bad for the kidneys. Remember the kidney's job description? They balance sodium and potassium to regulate blood pressure. But when you keep putting salty foods (sodium) into your body, the kidneys cannot manage the unnecessary burden. The reduced efficiency means less water is eliminated from your body. Welcome high blood pressure!
Alcohol and smoking: You can call them ace villains. They affect many organs, including the kidneys. Drinking and smoking put more toxins into your system, and the kidneys must work extra hard to eliminate them. Imagine this scenario: You have an In Tray and an Out Tray for work. A balance between the two helps you be efficient but will slow you down when the In Tray becomes regularly overburdened. If it continues unchecked, you will be hopelessly behind schedule and probably have a meltdown.
Poor sleep: If you don't get 7-8 hours of sleep, it may affect kidney health, says research. A proper sleep-wake cycle helps kidneys do their job well, and studies suggest that less than five hours of sleep can hamper kidney health.
Inactive lifestyle: Are you a lounger? Get up and get going. Exercise and staying fit promote kidney health, just like it benefits all organs and your general health.
High blood pressure and diabetes: These health conditions can damage kidneys if not controlled. Uncontrolled hypertension increases the pressure on the kidney's tiny blood vessels that cleanse the blood, reducing the kidney's efficiency. So, if you have either or both conditions, please strictly follow your hypertension and diabetes management program as devised by your doctor.
Obesity/Overweight: Carrying extra weight on your body can place additional stress on the kidneys to maintain blood-sodium balance and eliminate toxins. Obesity also promotes high BP and diabetes, creating a damaging cycle of cause and effect.
Excessive use of painkillers: Studies have shown that high painkillers can damage kidneys. The chemical build-up overloads the kidneys, hampering their ability to filter them.
Several genetic and hereditary factors lead to kidney damage, such as Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), which leads to kidney cysts. Kidney malformations can also lead to problems.
HOW SHOULD I MAINTAIN KIDNEY HEALTH?
Avoid all the bad habits mentioned above. In a nutshell, be aware of kidney health and live a kidney-friendly lifestyle. Follow these tips, and your kidneys will be a happy pair:
A combination of genetic and lifestyle factors causes several types of kidney disease. Some kidney problems are short-term conditions, such as kidney stones, that can be resolved with medication or treatment. In contrast, other kidney conditions develop into chronic diseases that require high-level management and care. Here are some of the more common kidney diseases:
Kidney stones: Excessive minerals in the body not efficiently cleared by the kidney leads to the formation of 'stones' broken down through procedures to help flush them out in the urine.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs): This is a bacterial infection of the urinary system, which, if left untreated, can spread to the kidneys.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the most common type of kidney disease that develops over time, primarily caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure or diabetes. CKD eventually stops the kidneys functioning, and the person must undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant depending on the damage.
Glomerulonephritis: Glomeruli are micro passages in the kidney's filtering system. When excessive toxins or infections damage them, kidney function is impaired.
Polycystic kidney disease: This condition leads to the formation of cysts in the kidneys that hamper kidney function and lead to kidney failure.
IgA Nephropathy: It is caused by a protein build-up in the kidneys that damages glomeruli, the tiny filters that constitute the nephrons. The condition develops over time and, if not diagnosed, can lead to kidney failure.
COMMON KIDNEY TERMS
Nephrons: These are the kidney's basic functioning units. Each kidney has millions of nephrons that filter toxins and waste to be passed out in the urine.
Glomeruli: Each nephron has a network of capillaries, called a glomerulus, that are the filtering channels.
CKD: Chronic Kidney Disease.
Renal: It means anything related to the kidneys.
Nephrology: The study of the kidneys.
Dialysis: A procedure that helps filter the blood of its waste and excess water, supporting kidney function. There are two kinds of dialysis: Hemodialysis, where a dialysis machine cleans the entire volume of the body's blood outside the body, and Peritoneal Dialysis, where the machine cleans the blood inside the body.
Kidneys are your lifeline. Take care of them.
Chief Arthur Mbanefo, 91 years old, former ambassador to the UN and Representative of Nigeria, thanks the American Hospital Dubai for the excellent medical treatment and personalized care he received.