March is National Kidney Month so it is time to get to know your hard-working kidneys.
The ways kidneys keep you healthy: regulate fluid levels; activate Vitamin D for healthy bones; filter waste from blood; direct production of red blood cells; regulate blood pressure; keep blood minerals in balance.
Problems kidney disease can cause: nerve damage; cardiovascular disease; heart attack; high blood pressure; stroke; weak bones; kidney failure; anemia/low red blood cell count.
Risk factors to healthy kidneys: diabetes; high blood pressure; age 60 and older; family history.
Symptoms of kidney problems: swelling of face, hands, abdomen, ankles or feet; blood in urine or foaming urine; puffy eyes; difficult, painful urination; increased thirst; fatigue.
Tests available to check kidney health: Urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio estimates the amount a type of protein, albumin, that you excrete in your urine; Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) tells how well your kidneys are working to remove wastes from your blood, it is the best way to check kidney function – doctors measure blood creatinine (waster build up) levels and perform a calculation based on race, age and gender.
From the National Kidney Foundation