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How to take good care of your kidneys

Many of us don’t think about our kidneys at all, until they fail. Dr Edward Kigonya, a nephrologist, cites rectal infection, malaria, high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes, HIV and overconsumption of painkillers as causes of the disease. Do not wait for a tragic experience; start on a healthy lifestyle.
Dr Robert Kalyesubula, a nephrologist at Mulago, gives insights on how to protect oneself from kidney disease and also manage it if one is already infected.

Right diet

Dietary intake is central in the proper care and management of the kidney. Milk and mushrooms contain a lot of phosphorous and should be avoided whenever necessary. Fish and chicken (without the skin) should be the source of animal proteins. Meat should be very little if at all taken, and should be lean without any fat. Instead, eat posho, rice and mukene. Eat a fibre-rich diet with whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Plant oils, nuts and fish are the healthiest source of fat. Avoid baked or fried potatoes like chips.

Fluid intake

Every organ in our body needs water, including the kidney. Start your day with one or two glasses of water and continue drinking it between meals to ensure that you are well-hydrated. Consume at least six to eight glasses of water per day.

No stress

When one is stressed, his or her body tends to release hormones that affect various organs of the body including the kidney. In fact, it increases blood pressure. Over some time, the kidney is weakened by these hormones, hence making it susceptible to disease.

Regular checkups

Vigilance about the signs is helpful in preventing kidney failure.

“You need to notice the nature of your urine. Normal urine is naturally yellow. However, when your urine appears in a very dark yellow, it could be a sign of kidney challenge,” he says.

Also, keep your weight in check and constantly monitor your blood pressure. For those with diabetes, high blood pressure or HIV, always ask your doctor to check on your kidneys at least once a year.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise gives one an improved feeling of well-being and when done regularly, it helps control weight, which is beneficial in reducing chances of high blood pressure and diabetes, one of the causes of kidney disease.

Adherence to prescribed medicine

It is paramount that patients with kidney disease take all prescribed medicine. A kidney patient takes an average of 10 types of drugs and needs to adhere to the dose. Kalyesubula advises those with kidney disease to avoid local herbs as they often interact with other medications and worsen the kidney problem.

ninsiima@observer.ug

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