It is a well-documented fact that people with kidney disease are more likely to develop heart problems. As a matter of fact “Heart disease is more common in people with even mild to moderate kidney disease than in those of the same age and sex without kidney disease.”
The opposite side of the coin reads the same; i.e. People with heart problems are more prone to kidney defects.
This assertion is supported by data from various research groups (and medical practitioners) and is true regardless of a person’s age. Of course it is not always possible to prevent heart and kidney diseases, however there are certain precautions that can help improve your kidney and Heart health.
In this article we explore dietary and lifestyle factors; specifically, their relationship with Kidney and heart health.
Eat, not just healthy, but the right Diet:
Healthy eating is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from heart and kidney diseases.
As a rule, you should avoid (or at least reduce intake of) foods that contain high levels of phosphorous or sodium additives (mainly found in processed foods) because these minerals causes fluid to build within the body. The excess fluid increases blood pressure and will strain your kidneys.
But given the fact that sodium is found almost in all foods in the form of salt, for example,people with heart or kidney problems should seek alternatives such as salt-free spices, lemon juice or chilli sauce. The figure below shows other alternatives for high sodium foods:
Figure 1: Alternatives to sodium Foods
Figure 2: Alternatives for phosphorous foods
Too much alcohol increases your risks of damaging your kidneys or heart. This is to add to the other well-known negative effects of excessive consumption of alcohol. To be safe, consult with your doctor to know how much alcohol is safe for your body.
In fact, you should do the same for all other foods because some components might conflict depending on your health. And of course a doctor and/or nutritionist will not only give you prescriptions but they can also help you manage your overall lifestyle.
Make the right Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle change is perhaps the most useful way to deal with chronic diseases including heart disease, kidney disease, inflammatory diseases etc.
The relationships between lifestyle modification and kidney/heart health are discussed in the following section, with supporting evidence:
Increase physical activity and do more exercise
Physical exercise will not only help you control your weight; it’s associated with various health benefits such as increasing insulin sensitivity, reducing blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels. Besides, “EXERCISE CAN OPEN THE DOOR TO A MORE AWARE, SUCCESSFUL LIFE”
What types of physical activity are beneficial for my health?
Regular physical exercise can have immediate and long term benefits for your health. Here are some of the activities that can improve your heart and Kidney health:
- Playing a sport you love.
- Cleaning your house
How often should I exercise?
Obviously the right number of times / week is largely dependent on many factors related to a person’s health and preferences. People who have not exercised in a while should start with mild drills lasting 10-15 minutes each day.
If you do this consistently, you should easily build up to more challenging exercise drills (e.g. aerobics) and extend the time to 20- 50 minutes per session. Generally, 3-5 exercise sessions / week is sufficient to achieve beneficial results.
Do this to make exercise a habit!
- Choose something you love, or at least something you enjoy doing.
- Mix up the routines: jog one day, do aerobics the next.
- Find someone to work with, maybe a training partner or a trainer.
- Exercise in a gym near you or with a group of people to make it fun.
- Keep track of your progress while trying to push limits each time you exercise; see if you can jog faster or for longer periods
A lot has been documented on the subject of tobacco smoking and its adverse health effects. For example, tobacco smoking inhibits the flow of blood to the kidney and promotes the development of kidney fibrosis, a leading cause of kidney failure.
Restricted blood flow leads to high blood pressure which is a leading cause of kidney disease. In fact, Kidney cells contain nicotine receptors that may accelerate the risk of kidney failure.
More than that, tobacco has a negative effect on the drugs used to control blood pressure.
Control your Cholesterol intake
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in your blood and cells. Naturally your body makes cholesterol but you most of the cholesterol stored in our bodies is obtained from foods we eat.
Too much cholesterol is bad for your heart and kidney health on the basis that the fats build up in the blood vessels, resulting in blockage of blood flow. With time the blood pressure increases (which may lead to kidney disease) and the person becomes more prone to the risk of a heart attack.
Research also reveals that people with high cholesterol levels are more likely to suffer from abnormal or reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR). This is the best way to assess the functions of a kidney.
You can easily find out the cholesterol levels in your body by a simple blood test so see your doctor if you have doubts. And remember you’ll need to lower your levels if they are too high, for example, by adhering to a low fat die or by taking pills such as Statin, although medication works best when combined with lifestyle changes.
Posted by : Editorial Team