One out of three Americans has an increased risk for kidney disease due to factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, and a family history of kidney failure. But there are a few things you can do to help you keep your kidneys healthy.

Get tested if you’re at risk

If you’re at an increased risk for kidney disease (over the age of 65, family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.), it’s important to be proactive about your kidney health and get tested. Simple blood or urine tests are the first step.

Monitor blood pressure and blood sugar levels

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the top two causes of kidney disease, so make sure to keep your blood sugar levels under control and monitor your blood pressure, so as not to develop these conditions. The kidneys contain many blood vessels, and when high blood pressure and diabetes injure blood vessels, it can have significant adverse effects on the kidneys.

Watch your weight

Excess weight can put added strain on your kidneys, as they have to work harder to filter out toxins and meet the metabolic needs of the increased body size. Keeping excess weight off will help keep your kidneys healthy.

Quit smoking

Smoking can worsen kidney disease and exacerbate the complications of other diseases that can damage the kidneys, like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Exercise and eat right

Exercise is a great way to lose excess weight and puts you at a lower risk for kidney disease, while eating healthy foods and limiting your salt intake improves both your blood pressure and your kidney function.

Be careful with pain medications

Certain pain medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are filtered by the kidneys. If you take them often, it can put a strain on your kidneys. Be mindful of the dosage and make sure to read labels when you’re taking a particular medication.

Take daily probiotics

Eating foods that contain probiotics (good bacteria for your digestive tract) can help the kidneys to process waste materials, and contributes to overall digestive health. A recent study found that patients who suffered from chronic kidney disease had improved kidney function when they took probiotics.

There are many things you can do for healthy kidneys, including consulting with a kidney specialist. If you’re concerned about the health of your kidneys, call the physicians at South Texas Renal Care Group today at (210) 390-0944 to schedule an appointment.