You can do a number of things to keep your kidneys functioning properly and as healthy as possible at every stage of your life.
- Hydrate, but don’t overdo it. It’s always a good idea to drink enough water, but drinking more than the typical four to six glasses a day probably won’t help your kidneys do their job any better.
- Eat healthy foods. Your kidneys can tolerate a wide range of dietary habits. Most kidney problems arise from other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Because of this, follow healthy, moderate eating habits to control weight and blood pressure. Preventing diabetes and high blood pressure will help keep kidneys in good condition.
- Exercise regularly. If you’re healthy, getting your exercise is a good idea. Just like healthy eating habits, regular physical activity can stave off weight gain and high blood pressure. Be mindful of how much exercise you do, especially if you’re not conditioned. Overexerting yourself when you’re not fit and healthy can put a strain on your kidneys, especially if you exercise so much that you cause excessive breakdown of muscle tissue.
- Use caution with supplements and herbal remedies. Excessive amounts of certain vitamin supplements and some herbal extracts may be harmful to your kidneys. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any vitamins and herbs you plan to take.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can damage blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood to the kidneys. When the kidneys don’t have adequate blood flow, they can’t function at optimal levels. Smoking also increases the risk of high blood pressure as well as the risk of kidney cancer.
- Don’t overdo it when taking over-the-counter medications. “Common non-prescription pills like ibuprofen and naproxen (NSAID’s) can cause kidney damage if taken too often over a prolonged period. If you have healthy kidneys and use these medicines for occasional pain, they probably don’t pose a risk. If you’re at risk, get regular kidney function screening.