Tips to help you and your family prevent kidney disease

Did you know that one in three Americans is at risk of kidney disease? Here are some tips on keeping your kidneys healthy. If you have kidney disease, these tips do not apply. For instance you may need to drink less water, depending on your kidney function and your doctor’s advice. This is because damaged kidneys do not get rid of extra fluid as well as they should.

Stay hydrated

Your kidneys work most efficiently if they have enough water flowing through to carry away the waste they filter. Therefore, it is very important to stay hydrated. Dehydration puts stress on your kidneys. Try to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. Drink more water on hot days and when you exercise than you would normally drink. How can you tell if you are hydrated? The color of your urine is a good indicator. If should be clear or straw colored. Any darker and you know you need to hydrate.

OTCs and kidney function

Avoid daily or regular use of over-the-counter analgesics. Analgesics are medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which help control pain and fever. Overuse of these medications for a long time, as well as of those that contain combinations of analgesics, can damage your kidneys. Read the warning label on your over-the-counter analgesics to see how long you may take them. If you still have pain or fever beyond that time, see your doctor. If you have reduced kidney function, do not take over-the-counter analgesics without the advice of your doctor.

Be kind to your kidney

Your lifestyle matters. When you exercise regularly, you keep your weight and blood pressure healthy, which is good for your kidneys. Combine exercise with foods rich in antioxidants. Cabbage, cauliflower, berries, garlic, and olive oil are all great foods for kidney health. Fish is also good for your kidneys. The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend two or three servings of fish a week. Salmon, rainbow trout, mackerel, herring and tuna, are excellent choices.

Becoming an organ donor

More than 96,000 people need a kidney each year, but only about 17,000 receive one. Every day 13 people die waiting for a kidney. To become an organ donor after death you can register online at or you can indicate your wish on your driver’s license. Don’t forget to let your family know your wishes. You can also make a donation to someone you know or to a stranger, while you are still alive, if you are healthy enough.

Useful Resources

Information on kidney disease and its prevention: The National Kidney Foundation:

Information on becoming a kidney and other organ donor: Donate Life America:

Download free cookbooks featuring kidney-friendly recipes:

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