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March is National Kidney Month: Preserve Your Kidney Health!

Cleanses and fasts are all the rage now, for getting in shape and ridding your body of “toxins.” But we at Any Lab Test Now recommend that you take some time to look to your body’s built-in cleansers — your kidneys. Your blood passes through your kidneys several times a day to be filtered and taken back to your heart, lungs and other organs. In honor of National Kidney Month, here are a few ways to keep your kidneys at peak health.

Manage any other health conditions. Heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes can contribute to kidney problems. Since these conditions affect blood flow, it’s important to manage them so your blood can make it to your kidneys to be filtered. Diabetes can also cause your body to release chemicals in response to blood sugar imbalances, which can damage your kidneys.

Cut back on salt and alcohol. This doesn’t mean you need to completely give them up, but consuming these in moderation has proven to decrease the amount of damage kidneys sustain over time. Try incorporating more produce and spices into your diet, and limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks per night.

Exercise, but don’t overdo it. Exercise is always a good idea for managing your health, but it’s important to strike a balance. Overtraining can be just as bad as remaining sedentary, because it can cause a breakdown of your muscles, which will release harmful chemicals back into your bloodstream. These chemicals reach your kidneys and can cause damage.

Try to quit smoking. Smoking can damage your blood vessels, which reduces the flow of blood to your kidneys. Nothing performs at its optimal level when blood isn’t flowing well, and your kidneys are no exception. So try to cut back or quit completely to heal your blood vessels.

Cool it on the over-the-counter medicines. Some NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can damage kidneys when taken over prolonged periods of time. If you don’t take them regularly, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. But if you use NSAIDs for chronic pain management, be sure to talk to your doctor about monitoring your kidney function.

The renal function panel at Any Lab Test Now works by testing your urine for substances like ketones and urea nitrogen, which typically don’t appear in high levels in the body due to the filtration provided by the kidneys. If the kidneys aren’t able to do their job, higher levels of proteins, sugars and even blood can appear in the urine.

Your renal system works hard to make sure your body doesn’t absorb harmful chemicals all day. Your kidneys never stop filtering blood, and they can keep working effectively even at 20 percent functionality. But the length of the kidney transplant list grows by the day; clearly once these important organs are impaired beyond their threshold, a person experiences a dramatic loss in their ability to live a full life. So take some time to evaluate these important organs by stopping in at Any Lab Test Now for a renal function panel!