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Optimize Your Kidney Health: A Guide to Maintaining Your Body's Filters

Did you know that kidney dialysis in a month costs roughly N150 - N250k? That's an average of 2-3 sessions every week. Medications and weekly injections are not included by the way. The bad news is that most people cannot afford this kind of expense. This is why prevention will always be better than cure because it’s safer (and much less costly) for you to stay healthy. The worst news is that there's no cure for chronic kidney disease (CKD) except dialysis of course. In this article, we’ll be looking at the importance of the kidney and why you need to check the health status without delay.

Once you’re in your 20s, you need to be aware of your health in every possible way you can. Do not feel this age bracket is young; rather it’s a means to curb any potential ailment that might rear its ugly head in the future. A certain age where you need to keep up with the maintenance of your health is once you attain the age of 40. By then you're health system is already on a decline.

What’s the function of the kidney? 

The kidneys are vital organs in the human body with really important functions. Here are the primary functions of the kidneys:

1. The main function of the kidneys is to filter and remove waste products and excess fluids from the bloodstream.

2. The kidneys play a key role in regulating the balance of water, electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium, and calcium), and other essential minerals in the body. This balance is important for maintaining proper cellular function.

3. The kidneys help regulate blood pressure by controlling the volume of blood and the amount of sodium retained in the body.

4. The kidneys produce and release erythropoietin, a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. This is essential for maintaining adequate oxygen levels in the body.

5. The kidneys filter and eliminate metabolic waste products, including urea, creatinine, and uric acid, which are byproducts of various cellular processes. Efficient removal of these waste products is vital for preventing toxic buildup in the body.

6. The kidneys convert inactive vitamin D into its active form, which is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the intestines. This process is crucial for maintaining bone health.

7. The kidneys play a role in glucose regulation by reabsorbing glucose from the urine back into the bloodstream. This helps prevent excessive loss of glucose, especially in situations of low blood sugar.

Overall, the kidneys are essential for maintaining the internal balance and homeostasis of the body. Their multifaceted functions contribute to the overall health and proper functioning of various organ systems.

How to check the status of your kidney

The first step obviously is to go for a test. If you've been wondering about the state of your health, especially your internal organs, the best move is to go for a medical checkup.

Two tests will be carried out to check for a healthy kidney. Before the tests, you are advised to fast the day before or avoid particular foods like meat.

The first one is through blood. This test is known as EGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) and it checks for a certain substance called creatinine- this is the level of waste product in your blood.

The second test is through urine and it’s called Urine albumin creatinine ratio (UACR). Both tests are necessary in order to get the full picture of the state of your kidney. The results will determine the health status of your kidney. Either way, there’s always room for adjustment or improvement.

And like I always say, when it comes to your health, the two major factors to change or adjust are your diet and lifestyle. Which brings us to the next question?

What are the symptoms of kidney disease?

Symptoms can include:
  • Puffiness or swollen feet and ankles – (oedema)
  • Poor appetite resulting in weight loss
  • Blood in your (urine)
  • Frequent need to pee – especially at night.
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Palpitation
  • Fatigue
There are few others but we will go with these signs for now

Best practices for a healthier kidney

It’s quite simple really. The best way to care for your kidney is to work on your diet and lifestyle choices. You have to do a lot of downsizing and cutting out. And while it’s impossible to avoid certain foods, it’s advisable to eat a wide variety of foods and eat processed foods in moderation.

I mean who would actually enjoy paying such a huge amount monthly just to have their blood filtered. Without further ado, here are the practical steps you can take to ensure a healthier kidney.

Regular Checkup

Firstly, get your blood and urine checked for kidney disease if you’re yet to do that especially when you’re in your 20’s to 30s. And No! That age is not too early. Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. Monitoring blood pressure, blood sugar, and kidney function through routine tests can help detect any issues early on.

Proper hydration

Staying hydrated by drinking water is one of the best ways to keep your kidneys healthy. Additional fluids like carrot juice and beet juice may also play a role in kidney health.

Cut back on salt.

Salt leads to increased blood pressure, which puts a strain on your kidney. Processed meats and foods like hot dogs, sausages, and frozen foods should be reduced to the barest minimum. Snack foods and condiments like chips, crackers, ketchup, and soy sauce should also be consumed with caution.

Choose foods that are healthy for your heart.

A clean healthy diet always wins at the end of the day. Your organs will thank you for it. Some foods that cleanse the liver include apples, broccoli, cabbage, onion, spinach, tomato, walnuts, herbs and spices such as turmeric and cinnamon. Fruits to take include banana, cucumber, pumpkin and watermelon.

Be physically active.

Engage in regular physical activity. Exercise promotes overall health, helps control weight, and can contribute to better kidney function. In addition to that, physical activity controls blood sugar, enhances circulation, and improves cardiovascular health.

Lose weight if you're overweight.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet to help control weight. Obesity is a risk factor for kidney disease.

Reduce alcohol.

Moderation is key. Excessive alcohol consumption can put a strain on your kidneys and lead to kidney damage.

Quit Smoking.

Smoking can increase the risk of kidney damage. Quitting smoking can contribute to overall kidney health and reduce the risk of kidney disease.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can contribute to various health issues, including kidney problems. Practice stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.

Get Adequate Sleep

Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Adequate sleep is essential for overall health, including kidney function.

In addition to the above tips, watch out for…


Especially foods with added sugars that have low nutritional value. Sugar is found in most foods, natural and processed. Natural sugar from fruits however offers many vitamins and minerals our bodies need.

Fizzy drinks

A recent study by the American Kidney Fund found that drinking two or more carbonated drinks daily may increase your risk for chronic kidney disease. Sodas and energy drinks have both been linked to the formation of kidney stones.

Meat & Dairy Products

A diet that is high in protein may cause kidney problems. This is because they can be very hard to metabolize thereby placing a heavy burden on the kidneys, making it hard for them to eliminate waste products. In addition, studies show many health benefits to moving away from an animal-based diet towards one based on plants. 


Caffeine (which is found in tea, coffee and fizzy drinks) is a stimulant, that can cause increased blood flow, blood pressure and places a strain on your kidneys. Excessive caffeine intake has also been linked to kidney stones.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

A significant percentage of our processed foods contain genetically modified organisms. Unfortunately, the long-term health effects of GMO crops on humans remain unknown due to the lack of studies.

Acute kidney failure is usually short term and your kidney function will recover over time. However, CKD: Chronic kidney failure can be treated with dialysis, a kidney transplant or supportive care.

Damage to the kidneys is often irreversible, so people who don't take care of their kidneys could face significant health risks. Once the kidney starts failing, it becomes very costly to make up for damage to these important organs.

Until then take care of yourself.

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