Risk Factors You Cannot Control
The kidney function and size decrease with age. By age 80, most people have lost about 30% of their kidney mass. While we cannot control the change in mass, there are steps you can take to prevent kidney function from declining.
People of certain ethnic origins are at greater risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease: First Nations, Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islands, and African.
Men have a higher risk for developing chronic kidney disease than women.
Family history is a factor in the development of both diabetes and high blood pressure, the major causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD). People most at risk of developing CKD are those with:
- High blood pressure
- A family history of kidney disease
- An ethnic background that includes Asian, South Asian, African or Aboriginal.
Risk Factors You Can Control
There are ways clients and patients can control the kidney disease risk factors and we encourage the following:
- Open communication and the ability to work with your healthcare provider is key. It is very important to mention all symptoms and concerns to your healthcare provider as well as ask questions.
- Quit or avoid smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes harm the kidneys as well as damage the heart and lungs. Cigarettes can cause cancer and are very harmful to small children. There are many toxic ingredients in one cigarette. Cigarettes are addictive and can cause many other health problems including death.
- Eat a "heart healthy" diet. This means eating small portions of lean meats and fish as well as whole grain breads and cereals, low-fat dairy products and 6-10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. This diet is also good for people with diabetes and high blood pressure. The majority of the people who develop Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) have had either diabetes or high blood pressure. By keeping these problems under control, individuals can reduce the risk of CKD.
- Maintain a healthy weight - physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight is very important for kidneys as well as your heart, lungs and feet. People with Diabetes often do not have feeling in their feet or have recurring foot problems.
- Discuss "over-the-counter medication". It is very important to discuss over-the-counter medications with your Doctor and/or Pharmacist. Many products contain "Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs" (NSAIDS) which are very harmful to the kidneys. This is especially true for arthritis medications that many people take without a perscription.
For more information, visit the BC Kidney Foundation website at http://www.kidney.bc.ca/.