March is National Kidney Month and kidneys are near and dear to me.
Yup, I love kidneys - I have three of them. One that was a gift from a friend last year and two that are sitting helplessly in my body, unable to function.
My kidney disease was inherited. If a parent has the disease, then each of their children has a 50% chance of getting the disease - pretty high statistics. Unfortunately, there is no test to see if you have the disease and it doesn't usually show up until you've already had children. Bummer, I know.
My dad had a kidney transplant in 1971 and remained healthy for 30 years until he died of cancer. One of my half-sisters (we have the same dad) died in her mid 30's after two transplants. She left 3 children behind. I had my transplant last year (April 2011) and I feel like a new person. Thanks, Cathy, for my new kidney!
In honor of National Kidney Month, I'd like to encourage everyone to take care of their kidneys and the kidneys of those they love. How?
1. By getting your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure will damage your kidneys.
2. By getting tested for diabetes and making sure if you are diabetic you follow all of your doctor's suggestions. Many people with diabetes don't exercise or eat right - two things that have been proven to help diabetics live healthier.
3. Be careful about what over the counter medications you take. I never knew that Ibuprofen was harmful to your kidneys. I took it for years every time I had a headache. Research what drugs are safer for you to take.
4. Eat healthy, whole foods that are devoid of chemicals, pesticides, and fake ingredients. Please feed your body healthy foods that will help it flourish.
5. Try to get some exercise everyday and make sure some of it is outside so you can benefit from the Vitamin D you get from sunshine - plus, it makes you feel stronger and younger.
6. Have a regular physical so that your doctor can check any abnormal blood work. Most kidney diseases don't show any symptoms at first. Mine was found at a routine physical. After an ultrasound showed my kidneys were covered in cysts, it was confirmed and I was sent to a Nephrologist.
If you want to learn more about Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), click on the link.