Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi
keep your kidneys healthy

Keeping our Kidneys Healthy

March is National Kidney Month! We sat down with Board Certified Urologist and Chief Medical Officer of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, Dr. Thomas Fenter, for his expert advice on keeping your kidneys healthy for the long-term.

Why are they so important?

These fist-sized parts of the body are responsible for ridding our bodies of toxic waste and materials. They help us maintain balanced electrolytes and regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.

Homeostasis, the way our bodies maintain internal stability, is the kidney’s main function. Think of our kidneys as our own body’s water filtering system, taking our blood and making sure only the good stays in and bad is filtered out.

Keeping the kidneys healthy is crucial for your body’s regulation. There are several external factors of why someone may develop kidney disease. The risk factors include: diabetes, high blood pressure, family history and over age 60. However, the two most common causes of kidney disease are two very preventable illnesses.

“The two leading causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure,” Dr. Fenter said. “That’s why it’s important to go to your Healthy You! annual visit because they monitor your blood pressure and glucose. Most people don’t relate those two diseases to possible kidney damage.”

He says for younger men and women, the risk of developing kidney damage is more likely in the event of kidney stones.

How do I keep them healthy?

“Most people don’t know they have kidney disease,” Dr. Fenter said. “They could feel tired and see differences in urine, but you can talk to your Blue Primary Care Provider for further treatment.”

There are many ways you can keep your kidneys as healthy as possible. Limit your salt intake, alcohol intake, supplement intake and don’t smoke. Salt can cause high blood pressure, while alcohol can harm the kidneys and impair the renal function. Some supplements can be harmful if taken in excess amounts.

Dr. Fenter says the ways you can keep your kidneys healthy now is to control your diet, exercise and weight management, drink fluids and be wary of over-the-counter medicines such as NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin, Advil, Motrin and Aleve).

“Kidney disease isn’t really talked about with younger and older people, that’s why it’s important to know the risks and talk about maintaining good health,” he said.

He says if you have diabetes or heart disease, follow your doctor’s recommendations on how to keep the kidneys from receiving any damage.

Your kidneys are very important to your overall health and wellness. Be sure to give them the care they need to keep your blood healthy!


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