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Your kidneys are incredible. Their job is to make sure your blood is clear of harmful toxins and unnecessary waste that could cause serious damage to the rest of your body. Your kidneys need protection and care, but sadly they are often overlooked. The result of under-appreciated kidneys is degenerative kidney disease and more than 25 million Americans are suffering from it right now. Untreated kidney disease can lead to kidney failure which can impact the rest of your body and cause many of your organs to shut down. For these reasons the American Kidney Fund seeks to educate us on how we can take care of our kidneys. Here are some tips to help you understand the causes of kidney disease, the lifestyle changes you can make and the testing you can do to prevent the disease from occurring or worsening.

The Causes of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is a subtle condition that begins with little or no symptoms but gradually worsens over the course of many years. It is often caused by type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity which is becoming more and more widespread in today’s society. Another component to kidney disease is multiple doses of medication. All of these factors: an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and multiple medications put a lot of strain on your kidneys and over time weakens them to the point where they cannot function properly.

Change Your Lifestyle

Kidney disease is a persistent, recurring illness that cannot be completely cured. Thankfully, though, there are ways you can keep the disease from worsening. These ways are the same lifestyle habits that can actually prevent you from developing the disease in the first place:

Get your blood pressure under control by exercising and losing weight. If you need medication to help you reach below 130/80 try kidney-friendly medication such as ARB’s and ACE inhibitors.

Keep your blood sugar levels as normal as possible with diet and exercise.

Create a kidney-friendly diet with your doctor or dietitian so that you are reducing your phosphorus, protein, sodium and maybe even potassium intake.

Identify with your doctor problems and alternatives with your multiple medications.

Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake.

Get Tested

Because the symptoms of kidney disease do not make themselves present until it is too late, the best way to catch it early on is to get tested. Your doctor can perform a simple test with your blood and urine sample to see if you have the disease. When should you get tested? If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, are 60 years old or older, have kidney disease in your family or if you have diabetes, then you’ll want to get tested.

The American Kidney Fund seeks to eliminate the physical and financial burden of kidney disease by providing direct financial aid to their patients and an education of kidney disease to their public. They envision a world where there are very few people suffering from effects of kidney disease and where those that are suffering have full access to the health care they deserve.

You can be part of making this dream come true when you donate your car for the benefit of kidney patients who cannot afford the cost of treatments and hospital care. You can donate your car two ways either by calling the number 1-800-237-5714, or filling out the online form by clicking the “Donate Now” tab. If you choose to fill out the form, make sure to select the American Kidney Fun in the drop down list, “Select a Charity.” Pass the word on about kidney disease and consider taking the necessary steps to care for and protect those amazing little organs of yours.

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