Kidneys, how to keep them healthy: diet, exams and alarm bells

Kidneys, how to keep them healthy: diet, exams and alarm bells

The kidneys perform many important functions. It is essential to keep them healthy with a correct diet and control tests. Without underestimating the risks in women

The kidneys weigh about 200 grams each. They have the shape of a bean and, even if we consider them always and only as the "purifiers" of the organism seeing that they produce urine, they keep what we need and eliminate the "waste", they really have so many functions. Among these, just think that by controlling vitamin D they help us preserve bones (and not only), protect us from anemia by producing erythropoietin, promote pressure control.

Alarm bells

Only that the kidneys have a flaw: they always work, without complaining. Thus we do not realize that something does not work if the first signs of their inefficiency, often not very recognizable, appear. Maybe you always feel tired – just because of an eventual anemia – or swellings appear in the ankles or under the eyes. This is why the specialists of the Italian Society of Nephrology launch the alarm.

Diet and control exams

Getting early to recognize that the kidney is not working means being able to help it at its best, especially with the right lifestyle (attention to overweight, regular physical activity and Mediterranean nutrition with ample space for vegetable proteins and control of salt and excess protein) with drugs if the specialist considers them necessary. On the salt itself, however, there is a reflection to be made: according to Giuliano Brunori, president of the Italian society of Nephrology, a single sandwich of one hundred grams (unless you choose a particular bread) can go up to 40 percent of the sodium needed by the body.

For this it is necessary to check the health of the kidneys and very little is enough: a urine test to check for the presence of albumin and (if the kidney is not holding it it is suffering) and a simple blood test, creatininemia, with subsequent estimation of the filtration value glomerular, the main parameter indicative of kidney function. "The most correct approach to try to combat chronic kidney disease – explains Giuliano Brunori, President Sin – is not to" wait "for patients in the hospital but to go and" search "for them in the population, and especially in those at risk.

From this point of view a decisive help can come from the fact that the tests for the diagnosis of the pathology are widely available, easy and inexpensive and that the identikit of the subjects at risk of chronic renal insufficiency is known: they are diabetics, hypertensives, the obese, people with dyslipidemia and in general over 65. All subjects who should check kidney function at least once a year. "

The risks for women

Do not think that kidney diseases, first and foremost the chronic one, are of male relevance. More or less the risk is equal in the two sexes and there are even conditions that are combined above all with women.

According to some studies, in general, the probability of developing chronic kidney disease is higher in women, with an average prevalence of 14 percent for women and 12 percent for men.

Some kidney diseases, such as lupus nephropathy and kidney infections (acute pyelonephritis or chronic pyelonephritis) typically affect women. Lupus nephropathy (linked to Systemic Lupus Etitematoso) is caused by an autoimmune disease, in which the body's defense mechanisms turn against its own cells and affect various organs, including the kidney. Pyelonephritis is a renal infection, which can involve one or both kidneys. Kidney infections (like many urinary tract infections) are more common in women and their risk increases during pregnancy. To ensure good treatment results, as in many kidney diseases, diagnosis and treatment must be timely.


Just talking about pregnancy, chronic kidney disease is a risk factor that can also negatively affect fertility. Suffering women run a higher risk of developing problems during pregnancy, with complications for both the mother and the child and therefore should be followed with particular care during the sweet wait.

The risk increases with increasing severity of kidney disease, and this leads to a higher high probability of developing hypertension, pre-eclampsia and a pre-term birth. It is clear, however, that even in women undergoing dialysis, although fertility is very low, conception is possible. The best results are recorded in patients treated with the most frequent dialysis: for this reason it is important to develop programs dedicated to women of childbearing age.

In women who have received a kidney transplant, the chances of conception and pregnancy without complications are higher. However, it remains a situation to be reckoned with, which requires careful pre-conceptional assessment by the gynecologist and the nephrologist. In all cases, it is necessary to learn more about kidney diseases and their impact on pregnancy, to promptly identify chronic kidney disease in pregnancy, and to closely follow all women who suffer from this condition during and after pregnancy.

But be careful: sometimes pregnancy becomes a valuable opportunity to diagnose kidney disease and treat it early. Conversely, some complications that can arise in normal pregnancies can increase the risk of developing kidney disease.

First of all is the preclampsia, a syndrome in which a defect of the placenta implant causes hypertension, proteinuria, and renal damage. Although renal damage is generally reversible, at least in the short term, preeclampsia can be very serious and represents one of the three main causes of death during pregnancy. Preclampsia, placenta infection and postpartum hemorrhage are among the most frequent causes of acute kidney disease in young women, and are associated with the development of chronic kidney disease in the future.

Category: Health
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