March is National Kidney Month! The kidneys play an essential role in regulating our body’s overall internal functioning, so it is important to stay informed about what’s happening with these waste removing organs.
Caring for Your Kidneys
During the history-taking portion of our executive physical, we get an idea of the quality of our patients’ diets, water intake, caffeine intake, exercise, prior health conditions. This helps give us an understanding of the risk of the patient to develop kidney disease.
During the physical exam component of the visit, we pick up on findings that could suggest dehydration, including mouth dryness and changes in skin turgor.
Testing for Kidney Health
Another portion of the executive physicals includes assessing renal function through in-office lab work. These include testing kidney function markers like:
- Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
- Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best overall index of kidney function. Normal GFR varies according to age, sex, and body size, and declines with age. The National Kidney Foundation recommends using the CKD-EPI Creatinine Equation (2021) to estimate GFR, which is what is used by most of the laboratories Hoag Executive Health works with.
Conducting these tests provides insight into the health of our patients’ kidneys, and general health, so that we can address any issues and mitigate any risks for disease.
Ways to Protect Kidney Health
- Healthy Diet. A healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrition and is one of the foundational aspects for overall well-being and organ health and function.
- Hydration. While some people target a certain number of ounces of water per day, it is also important to look at the color of your urine. Discoloration can be indicative of kidney function and whether there might be any issues present that need to be addressed by your dedicated care team.
- Limit OTC Medications. Do not go overboard with over-the-counter NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Ibuprofen. When taken in excess, these can be harmful and cause injury to the kidneys.
- Maintain Healthy Body Weight. Extra weight forces the kidneys to go into overdrive, working harder and filtering wastes above the normal level. This can lead to an increased risk for kidney disease.
- Do Not Smoke.
- Do Not Drink Alcohol Excessively.
- Manage Conditions Like Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. Uncontrolled diabetes and/or hypertension increase the risk of the development or the progression of chronic kidney disease.
Come in for a same-day appointment or schedule a time that works for you. Testing is done on-site and you’ll be able to discuss the results with your doctor as soon as they return. Take control of your health today by calling us at (949) 202-4923.