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10th March is World Kidney Day - How can you keep your kidney healthy?
Kidney diseases are silent killers, which will largely affect your quality of life. On the occasion of the upcoming World Kidney Day (March 10), IMA is trying to educate the public about what they can do for their kidneys.

The kidneys are two organs located in people's midsection on either side of their spine in the middle of the back, just above the waist. They clean blood, keep the balance of salt and minerals in blood, and help control blood pressure.

Speaking about the same, Dr SS Agarwal, National President IMA and Dr KK Aggarwal, Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement said, "When your kidneys are damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in your body, causing swelling in your ankle, vomiting, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of breath. If you don't treat them, diseased kidneys may eventually stop working completely. Loss of kidney function is a serious -- and potentially fatal -- condition. Raising awareness about preventive measures is key."

According to IMA, a few ways in which one can keep his or her kidneys healthy include:

Keep fit and active ("on the move for kidney health"): Keeping fit helps to reduce your blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of chronic kidney disease.

Keep regular control of your blood sugar level: About half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage, so it is important for people with diabetes to have regular tests to check their kidney functions. Kidney damage from diabetes can be reduced or prevented if detected early.

Monitor your blood pressure: High blood is also the most common cause of kidney damage. The normal blood pressure level is 120/80. Between this level and 139/89, you are considered pre-hypertensive and should adopt lifestyle and dietary changes. If your blood pressure is 140/90 and above, monitor your blood pressure regularly. High blood pressure is especially likely to cause kidney damage when associated with other factors like diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases.

Eat healthy and keep your weight in check: This can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease. Reduce your salt intake. The recommended sodium intake is 5-6 grams of salt per day (around a teaspoon).

Maintain a healthy fluid intake: One should consume at least 30 ml per kg body weight of fluids daily. Do not advocate "aggressive fluid loading", which can cause side effects, but they do provide evidence that moderately increased water intake, around two litres daily, may reduce the risk of decline in kidney function.

Do not smoke: Smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50 percent.

Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis: Common drugs such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly.

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