An estimated 15% of adults in the United States have Chronic Kidney Disease. That's 1 in 7, approximately 37 million people.
Some of these risk factors, like family history of kidney disease, cannot be controled or mitigated. Others can be. Smoking, eating habits, obesity, exercising habits are factors that we can control and change in an effort to better our health and prevent kidney disease. In particular, we will explore diet recommendations set forth by the National Kidney Foundation and a study published in the American Journal of Kidney Disease in 2013.
Unhealthy eating habits, for this study, meant regular consumption of a diet high in red meat or processed meats and sugary drinks like soda and low in foods like fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy etc. Researchers defined obesity as those who had a body mass index (BMI) of 30. It was found that obesity doubled the chance of developing kidney disease. In those that smoked regularly, it was found that people were 60% more likely to develop kidney disease.
Chronic Kidney disease affects about 15% of women and 12% of men.
- Get tested. Speak with your doctor and find out what your risk is and speak about next steps.
- If you smoke, quit. This can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Speak with your primary doctor for resources on how to start.
- Start exercising. 30 minutes of walking a few times a week can go a long way. Speak to your doctor for more information on the best way to get started.
- Transform your eating habits. Again, speak to your doctor, or a certified nutritionist about getting yourself set up with a good eating plan for your body.
- Cut the sodium: Americans today consume 50% more than the recommended daily quantity of sodium -- 2,300 mg of sodium, about one teaspoon of salt, should be the daily limit.
- Reduce red meat: High protein diets, especially those containing large quantities of animal protein, may harm the kidneys. Red meat is also high in saturated fat—another no-no.
- Stop the soda: Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas are high calorie and contain no nutritious value. Colas also have phosphorus additives which can harm the kidneys.
- Pass on processed foods: Crackers, potato chips, deli meats, cheese spreads, and instant potato mix are all examples of processed foods that are high in sodium and phosphorus additives - both which can have negative effects on the kidneys.
- Slow down with sugar: An overdose of sugar can lead to diabetes and obesity, which are linked to kidney disease."
- "The Right Diet May Help Prevent Kidney Disease, New Study Finds", April 17, 2013, National Kidney Foundation
- "The Correct Diet Can Help Avoid Kidney Disease", April 17, 2013, Kelly Fitzgerald, Medical News Today
- "Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2019", Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- "One in Seven American Adults Estimated to Have Chronic Kidney Disease", June 6, 2017, National Kidney Foundation