Protect your kidney function BEFORE it’s too late
(NaturalHealth365) Poor kidney function is often associated with an inability of the kidneys to properly filter out waste. And, make no mistake, this condition can progress to irreversible end-stage kidney disease – for which the only effective treatment is dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, conventionally-speaking, most people remain uninformed about how a proper diet and early intervention can improve kidney function – slowing (and even reversing) the progression of kidney disease.
Now, a just-published report highlights the connection between the nation’s “graying” population and the ever-increasing prevalence of chronic kidney disease. Let’s take a closer look at the study – and at some natural, drug-free methods of protecting and preserving kidney function.
Sobering statistic: Over 50 percent of people between 30 and 64 could develop kidney disease in their lifetime
The kidneys help to purify a staggering 200 quarts of blood every day – and this is just part of their typical workload.
These hard-working organs not only filter waste products out of the body via the urine, but help to control blood pressure, balance hormones, maintain electrolyte balance and even strengthen the skeleton. When kidneys aren’t working efficiently, waste products – such as creatinine and blood urea – accumulate in the body, with serious effects on overall health.
According to a report published in the American Journal of Kidney Disease, the amount of adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) will increase from the current rate of 13.2 percent to 16.7 percent by the year 2030 – a substantial rise.
But the report’s most eye-opening statistic may be this: for American adults aged 30 to 64, the lifetime incidence of CKD hovers at slightly over 50 percent.
By contrast, the lifetime incidence of diabetes (considered an epidemic in its own right) is currently 33 percent to 38 percent. And, at 12.5 percent, the lifetime incidence of breast cancer in women is even lower.
Researchers noted that the discovery of the “high probability” of developing CKD caught them by surprise.
Alert: CKD is associated with the soaring risk of heart disease
After the age of 50, kidney function begins to be lost. According to Joseph Vassalotti, M.D. – Chief Medical Officer for the National Kidney Foundation – the very act of passing age 60 presents an automatic risk factor for CKD.
And CKD is associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes.
Studies have shown that having CKD causes the risk of mortality from heart disease to increase by a stunning 30-fold. (Not by 3-fold, but by 30-fold; the zero is correctly placed!)
In addition, CKD carries a hefty national price tag. As of 2012, the disease’s annual cost to Medicare was estimated at a stunning $87 billion.
The National Kidney Foundation advises that people most at risk for the condition (including those over 60 and those with hypertension, diabetes or a family history of kidney failure) have annual kidney screenings.
Increase in kidney disease is not confined to the U.S.
According to a cohort study conducted at the Graduate Entry Medical School at University of Limerick and published last month in Nephrology Dialysis and Transplantation, rates of acute kidney injury, or AKI, have more than doubled in the past ten years among Irish patients.
AKI involves a sudden loss of kidney function, in which these vital organs are no longer able to excrete waste and maintain fluid balance. AKI can be triggered by illness, injury, dehydration and exposure to anti-inflammatory drugs. In severe form, AKI increases risk of kidney failure and early death – and may require dialysis.
To conduct the study, researchers tracked over 450,000 adult patients in the Irish health system – and found that rates of AKI had increased from 5.5 percent to 12.4 percent over the past ten years.
The team called for the implementation of a national strategy of better – and earlier – detection and treatment of kidney disease.
The good news: Although there is no “cure” for kidney disease, experts say that lifestyle changes and appropriate medications can dramatically reduce the risk.
Address kidney disease with non-toxic natural therapies
Kidney disease causes a decline in levels of CoQ10, one of the body’s most important disease-fighting antioxidants. There is evidence that oral supplementation with CoQ10 can not only help restore levels of this beneficial substance, but also help to alleviate oxidative damage and slow the development of kidney disease.
In a placebo-controlled clinical trial, researchers found that 180 mg of CoQ10 a day for twelve weeks decreased the progression of end-stage kidney disease in a surprising 81 percent of the patients.
Even more encouragingly, half of the CoQ10-treated patients were able to stop dialysis by the study’s end. By contrast, the placebo group had worsening kidney function “across the board” – and none of them were able to stop dialysis.
B-complex vitamins – particularly vitamin B6, or pyridoxamine – help to reduce calcium-oxalate levels that can cause kidney stones – while also impeding the rise of creatinine levels.
And antioxidant, anti-inflammatory vitamin E can relieve oxidative stress. In one clinical study published in Diabetes Care, 1,800 IU of vitamin E a day supported the kidneys’ ability to clear creatinine in diabetic patients.
Finally, alpha-lipoic acid can protect against drug-induced kidney damage from acetaminophen and antibiotics. Encouragingly, it was also found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications in patients with end-stage kidney disease.
Naturally, you should consult a trusted, experienced integrative physician before using nutritional supplements – especially if you’re dealing with kidney disease or any other serious medical condition.
Protect your kidney function with proper nutrition and hydration
Your doctor should know: Scientific research clearly supports the importance of diet in maintaining kidney health.
A study conducted at Columbia University showed that consuming a Mediterranean diet – featuring healthy amounts of fruits, vegetables, fish, and beneficial monounsaturated fats and oils – is associated with a lower risk of chronic kidney disease.
And, studies have shown that poor diet is linked to higher mortality in patients undergoing dialysis.
To be clear: Eating a diet high in processed foods and refined sugars (essentially, the Standard American Diet) can further stress weak or damaged kidneys. Many natural healers suggest avoiding (toxic) trans fats, GMOs and the excessive use of processed salt from your diet – and sharply reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol – which can dehydrate the body.
Of course, the importance of sufficient hydration – with pure (clean) water, sparkling water or herbal teas – can’t be overstated.
As we age, the threat of CKD increases. But proper lifestyle and dietary choices can enhance kidney function – and help protect us against debilitating kidney disease.
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