Promoting Kidney Health in SeniorsMarch 23, 2023
Kidneys are vital organs that filter waste and excess fluids from the blood. They regulate blood pressure, electrolyte balance, and red blood cell production. As people age, the risk of developing kidney disease increases. It is estimated that around 30% of seniors over the age of 65 have some form of kidney damage, which is why promoting kidney health in seniors is so important.
There is hardly a better time to do so than March, as it’s National Kidney Month. As the month comes to a close, make a point to educate yourself on the best ways to keep your kidneys healthy.
Dehydration can lead to a decrease in blood flow to the kidneys. This can make it more difficult to filter waste and excess fluids. Seniors should aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day—more if they are physically active or in hot weather. They should also avoid drinking excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol, as both can be dehydrating.
Know the risks of the medication you take
Some medications, including over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, can be hard on the kidneys and should be used with caution. Seniors should talk to their doctor about their medications and any supplements they are taking to ensure they are not putting their kidneys at risk.
If you have a condition that requires you to take a certain type of medication, talk with your doctor about steps you can take to protect your kidneys.
Little changes in your day-to-day life can go a long way. Sitting or lying down for excessive lengths of time can reduce blood flow to the kidneys. This can have serious repercussions over time. Try to get up and move around every hour, even if it’s just for a quick stretch. It will not only help your kidney health, but help you feel better physically.
Keep a healthy lifestyle
Just as your lifestyle impacts every other part of your wellness, it impacts your kidneys. Reevaluate your diet and activity choices, and make adjustments as necessary to stay as healthy as possible. Seniors should aim to eat a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. They should also limit their intake of salt, processed foods, and animal protein. Have them talk to their doctor about their specific dietary needs, as some medical conditions may require additional restrictions.
Exercise helps improve circulation, reduce blood pressure, and maintain a healthy weight—all of which can help reduce the risk of kidney disease. Seniors should aim to be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. This doesn’t have to involve high-intensity exercise. It can include activities like walking, swimming, gardening, or any other form of moderate exercise.
Seniors should also avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys and increase the risk of kidney disease. Seniors should also avoid exposure to other toxic substances, such as certain chemicals and pollutants that can damage the kidneys over time. You should also limit your alcohol intake, as too much drinking can lead to weight gain and other serious issues.
Monitor your health conditions
It is also important to monitor and manage any medical conditions that can affect kidney health, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Both of these conditions can cause damage to the kidneys over time, so it is essential to closely monitor them and manage them effectively.
Seniors should have regular check-ups with their doctor, and attend any recommended health screenings, such as blood pressure and kidney function tests.
When to seek medical help
Swelling in their legs, feet, or ankles, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, or frequent urination at night might be an indication of a kidney problem. If you’re currently experiencing these issues, don’t wait to address them. Visit your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment of kidney disease can help slow down its progression and improve the chances of maintaining good kidney health.
An at-home caregiver can help you stay healthy
An at-home caregiver is a valuable resource for seniors looking to maintain a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. With their support, you can continue to live in the comfort of your own home and enjoy life to the fullest.
If you are considering the benefits of having an at-home caregiver, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 773-274-9262. Our team is dedicated to providing the highest quality care and support to seniors, and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you make the best decision for your needs.
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