Happy International Women’s Day Pacers! You may not know it, but March 8th is also a day to think about something else important to you – your kidneys! Today is World Kidney Day, a global awareness campaign aimed at bringing attention to the importance of our kidneys. Hundreds of events worldwide are bringing attention to kidney health and kidney disease. This year’s theme is, “Kidneys and Women’s Health: Include, Value, Empower.”
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a worldwide public health problem that can lead to problems as serious as kidney failure and premature death. CKD affects approximately 195 million women worldwide and is currently the 8th leading cause of death in women, responsible for close to 600,000 deaths each year.
Not everyone understands how important kidney function is to our overall health. If people knew the vital role their kidneys play, people might take increased steps to mitigate the impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems. World Kidney Day helps create awareness about preventive behaviors, risk factors and how to live with kidney disease, should you find yourself diagnosed with it.
Drinking proper amounts of water is extremely important to kidney health. The National Kidney Foundation provides six “Water Wise” tips for healthy kidneys. These are:
- Eight glasses of water a day is great, but not set in stone.
- With kidney failure, less water can be appropriate.
- It’s possible to drink too much water.
- Your urine color can reveal a lot.
- Water helps prevent kidney stones and UTIs.
- Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding medication and water intake.
So, what can you do to help keep their kidneys healthy?
- Watch your blood pressure: High blood pressure is can negatively impact your kidneys. Controlling your blood pressure can help improve kidney function. Walking is a great exercise to help control blood pressure and therefore kidney function.
- Keep diabetes under control: Diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, as diabetes can damage the kidneys. If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels under control can help minimize kidney damage.
- Eat right: Doesn’t it seem that healthy eating can benefit many health conditions? Keep your sodium intake low. Drink more water. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating healthier keeps your kidneys healthier, and it makes you feel great too!
- Get regular check-ups: Make sure to see your doctor at least once a year if you’re healthy, or more frequently if you have serious health conditions. Your doctor can test your kidney function if there may be an issue. Diagnosing problems early is important, as you can start treatment sooner and avoid some of the damage.
- Keep your weight controlled: Being overweight can affect your blood pressure (which as we noted earlier can be hard on your kidneys). Maintain a healthy weight by staying active and eating healthfully.
- Exercise: Exercise, along with healthy eating, keeps your body strong and healthy and which benefits your body as a whole and many conditions in particular. Exercise isn’t a magic bullet, but it certainly helps. Make a goal of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, (30 mins a day, 5 days a week) such as walking, every week.
Use Pacer to track your progress and hit your exercise goals. Check-in when you hit your water intake and remind yourself to eat right. Get your steps, get active and do what you can to help avoid kidney disease. Your kidneys, and your body, will thank you!
If you want to learn more about World Kidney Day events taking place around the globe, visit http://www.worldkidneyday.org/2018-campaign/worldwide-events/events-list/.
If you haven’t downloaded the Pacer app yet, download Pacer for free (on mobile)! You can also check out our website (mobile or desktop) or follow our blog for more great walking and healthy lifestyle tips.