Most people don’t think about their internal organs or their functions until they fall sick. As long as one feels good there is no reason to fret, right? Well, maybe. Or, maybe not.
There are some diseases, like kidney disease, that can lie undetected for a long time and symptoms may not present themselves until extensive damage has been done. For this reason, the International Society of Nephrology and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations have named March 10, 2016 as World Kidney Day (WKD).
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs about the size of one’s fist. They are found near the back of a person’s body on either side of the spinal cord. These organs remove waste from the body, release hormone’s that regulate blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells, among other things. Some signs that a person may have kidney disease are high blood pressure, blood or protein in the urine, puffiness around the eyes and/or swelling of one’s hands and feet. Kidney disease can lead to dialysis, being placed on the national organ transplant list or, in some cases, death. By taking better care of your kidneys early in life, one may avoid these symptoms.
This year’s theme for WKD is “Kidney Disease and Children. Act Early to Prevent It!” Unfortunately children who are born with kidney disease or acquire it early will have it for the rest of their lives. According to the WKD website, kidney disease can affect children in various ways, ranging from treatable disorders without long-term consequences to life-threatening conditions. Kidney disease, for many people, can be prevented. By establishing a healthy lifestyle early in a child’s life, parents can foster habits that will prevent a plethora of diseases and positively impact future generations.
Small changes make a big difference! Begin by reading nutrition labels and knowing exactly what you are putting into your body. Learn new and healthy recipes and exercises that the entire family will enjoy. A great place to begin your search for healthy food options is www.Kidney.org. The site even offers resources one can utilize when dining out!