If you’re African American, you’re at increased risk for kidney disease. It affects 1 in every 6 of us, we’re more likely to develop chronic kidney disease at a younger age and we’re three times more likely to experience kidney failure. And the numbers are rising. Now that you know these stats, the most important steps you can take to keep your kidneys healthy are:
- Get your blood and urine checked for kidney disease.
- Manage your diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Keep your kidneys healthy with these tips:
- Keep your blood pressure at the target set by your health-care provider. For most people, the blood pressure target is less than 140/90 mm Hg. This can delay or prevent kidney failure.
- If you have diabetes, control your blood glucose level.
- Keep your cholesterol levels in the target range.
- Take your medication the way your provider says. (Note: Some blood pressure medicines, called ACE inhibitors and ARBs, may protect your kidneys. Ask your health-care provider for more information.)
- Cut back on salt. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day.
- Choose foods that are healthy for your heart: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Be more physically active.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- If you smoke, take steps to quit. Cigarette smoking can make kidney damage worse.