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Keep your kidneys kicking this World Kidney Day

Keep your kidneys kicking this World Kidney Day

6 March 2014

MidCentral District Health Board is encouraging regular kidney health checks ahead of World Kidney Day on 13 March.

When all stages of kidney disease are taken into account, it is estimated that it might impact up to 15% of New Zealanders. MidCentral Health, along with primary care providers, manages approximately 500 people with stage 3-5 kidney disease, with 144 people currently on dialysis.

The theme of this year’s World Kidney Day highlights the way that aging increases a person’s risk of developing the disease. Of course, getting your kidney function checked at least annually is important if any of the other risk factors apply to you, as the majority of chronic kidney disease cases go undiagnosed in the early stages. It is even possible to lose up to 90% of kidney function before any symptoms are experienced.

You are more likely to be at risk of kidney disease if you:

• Have diabetes
• Have high blood pressure
• Are obese
• Smoke
• Are over 50 years of age
• Have a family history of kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, and
• Are of Maori and Pacific Island descent

MidCentral District Health Board nephrologist Norman Panlilio says the best way to reduce the risk of kidney disease is to keep well and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and ensuring that you get regular check ups if you are at risk.

“Having a healthy diet, keeping active and not smoking are all good ways to reduce your risk of kidney disease. As you age, the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep your kidneys in good condition and get kidney function checked regularly becomes even more important.”

Other preventative measures include: not smoking, not taking over the counter pills such as ibuprofen frequently, monitoring blood pressure, and keeping control of blood sugar levels if you are diabetic.

While symptoms of kidney disease usually don’t show until advanced stages, they include swollen ankles, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, decreased appetite, and bloody or foamy urine. MDHB would encourage anyone who is considered at-risk or has these symptoms to visit their GP.

Some everyday tips that can keep your kidneys and your whole body healthy:
• Stay well hydrated.
• Getting exercise will reduce your blood pressure and with it, your risk of kidney disease.
• Eating healthy and keeping down your weight helps prevent diabetes and heart disease, both of which are associated with kidney disease.
• Don’t smoke. It slows the flow of blood to your kidneys which stops them from working properly. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by around 50 percent.
• Keep an eye on your blood pressure, as it’s the most common cause of kidney damage. If you’re diabetic, keep your blood sugar under control as well.


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