Are You or Your Child at High Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Posted 04/20/2016 | By HealthCorps

We all start out with two kidneys. They filter and clean our blood, regulate internal body fluids, help to control levels of minerals and acidity, produce hormones that help to modulate our blood pressure and manufacture a form of vitamin D that keeps our bones dense and strong. Modern life, including a western diet, as well as certain health conditions can hurt our kidneys and raise the risk of chronic kidney disease. Healthy living means watching out for the risk factors that may contribute to CKD.

Newly discovered risk factors for CKD

Proton pump inhibitors or PPIs are medications that help to ease heartburn and acid reflux. Obesity is a significant contributing factor to gastrointestinal diseases like heart burn and acid reflux. Recent research suggests that frequent, long term use (fifteen plus years) of PPIs is associated with a 20% to 50% increased risk of CKD. Using an H2 blocker medication instead, like Zantac or Pepcid did not seem to offer the same risk factor.

A high acid, Western diet, filled with junk food, refined foods, highly processed foods, red meats, and sweets, with limited intake of fruits and vegetables, was three times more likely to instigate CKD when compared to a Mediterranean-style diet. The Mediterranean style of eating which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, beans, and heart-healthy fats seems to have a protective effect when it comes to risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

High intake of phosphorous also seems to heighten risk of developing CKD. We do need adequate levels of phosphorous which supports a regular heart rhythm, strong bones and teeth. Too much phosphorous, which we typically absorb from red meat and dairy products, and especially from processed foods with additives containing phosphorous, can contribute to elevated levels. Look for the words phosphate and phosphoric acid in processed foods and drink. Limit red meat and eat more plant-based proteins.

Not moving enough is considered a risk factor for obesity, heart disease, joint diseases and it can also hurt your kidneys. A sedentary lifestyle, even if diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or obesity is not present, is considered an independent risk factor for CKD. An exercise habit has a huge health payoff, but whether you choose to exercise or not – you still need to get up and move around regularly throughout the day.

When it comes to healthy living, limiting these risk factors can mean kidney health throughout your life.

Source: The Bottom Line Health, Volume 30, Number 3, March 2016

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