Five Tips to Maintain Healthy Kidney Function

The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (the gradual loss of kidney function), or CKD, might come as a shock to the average American – but it shouldn’t. CKD is very common.

The National Kidney Foundation reports that over 37 million adults have CKD. It’s also estimated that 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for kidney disease, 660,000 people live with kidney failure and 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant. Also, since kidney function naturally decreases over time, the likelihood of developing CKD increases as we get older.

Kidney disease is difficult to detect until the disease reaches more advanced stages. Fortunately, there are some things we can do to promote healthy kidney function and slow down the progression of chronic kidney disease.

  1. Drink at least 48 ounces of water every day. The human adult body is approximately 60% water and should be replenished daily in order to perform normal daily functions.
  2. Have your blood and urine checked. The color of your urine and how often you urinate does not tell us how your kidneys are functioning. The amount of water you drink, medications you take, and some foods can change how your urine looks.
  3. Work with your primary care provider to evaluate your kidney function. With a few simple tests, your provider can establish what is “normal” for you. Knowing your own “normal” can help you detect when there might be a problem.
  4. Carefully manage any comorbid conditions. The two most common causes of CKD are uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes, so controlling and managing these conditions is crucial to decreasing your risk of CKD.
  5. Avoid repeated exposure to contrast/IV dye found in lab tests (CT scan with contrast, MRI, cardiac catheterization) and consistent use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs, such as Ibuprofen/Motrin, Advil, Naproxen/Aleve. Both can worsen kidney function, especially in older adults or those who have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and vessel disease, acute kidney injury (AKI), or have already been diagnosed with CKD.

To learn more about chronic kidney disease, visit the National Kidney Foundation.

Picture of Alkiesha Collins, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA

Alkiesha Collins, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA

Alkiesha Collins is a Board Certified PA practicing in nephrology in Northern Virginia/Southern Maryland.