World Kidney Day on 8 March aims to raise awareness of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and help improve kidney health worldwide.
To support this worthy cause, we've put together a short blog on why your kidneys are so important and how to take care of them.
1) Your kidneys regulate water
It's important that your body contains the correct amount of water, and this is one of the key functions of the kidneys. They regulate the amount of water and salts in your body, filtering out any excess water and helping to maintain your body's chemical balance.
2) Your kidneys remove waste
Yes that's right, your kidneys make your urine. It may not be pleasant to think about, but your kidneys are vital for removing waste and toxins from your body. They also make sure you keep hold of more useful substances such as glucose and protein.
3) Your kidneys control your blood pressure
By carefully controlling the level of minerals such as sodium and potassium in the blood stream, the kidneys help to control your blood pressure and prevent it from getting too high. Kidneys also produce red blood cells and help keep your bones healthy.
4) Kidney damage can be fatal - and there is no cure
Approximately 1 in 10 adults have some form of kidney damage, and every year millions die prematurely of complications related to Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD).
CKD is a gradual loss of kidney function over time, and is most common in older people and women. Unfortunately it's not easy to detect as most people don't show any symptoms until they lose up to 90% of their kidney function.
What's more, there is no cure, although treatment such as dialysis can slow the progression of the disease and prevent more serious conditions from developing.
Keep your kidneys healthy
In summary, the kidneys are highly complex organs that carry out essential tasks to keep our bodies healthy.
So what do I do to keep my kidneys healthy I hear you say? Here are the eight golden rules to follow:
1) Keep fit and active
2) Keep regular control of your blood sugar level
3) Monitor your blood pressure
4) Eat healthy and keep your weight in check
5) Maintain a healthy fluid intake - it is recommended to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day
6) Don't smoke
7) Don't take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis
8) Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the "˜high risk' factors, such as diabetes or hypertension
Visit the World Kidney Day website to find out more here.