KIDNEYS IMPORTANT BODILY ASSET

MUNIRA PRASLA
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Mar 19 - 25, 20
12

Human body is like a complex and integrated machine, consisting of several constituting parts known as organs. Organs depend on each other for functioning properly. If one organ is malfunctioning, there are complications for overall working of the body, which in some conditions may lead to death.

Kidney is one such organ we can't afford to neglect as it may cost one's life. Kidneys are just as small as our fist and are located in our abdominal cavity at the backside.

Despite smaller size, its function is vital for life. They purify blood by removing waste products, and balance electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which in turn help in controlling blood pressure. In addition to that, kidneys also produce a hormone 'erythropoietin' that stimulates production of red blood cells. There are many factors, which can alter proper functioning of kidneys. Most severe of these factors are high sodium intake (usually in form of salt), less-than-required water intake, and diet too high in protein. High blood pressure and overweight also impact functioning of kidneys.

Death rate due to kidney (renal) failure in Pakistan is 12.3 for every 100,000 people.

World Kidney Day is celebrated on second Thursday of March every year. It is a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) to raise awareness about importance of kidneys in maintaining healthy life. You can take simple steps for ensuring healthy kidneys.

TAKE ENOUGH WATER TO KEEP KIDNEYS GOING

It is very important to take at least eight to ten glasses of water every day. This is particularly important in warmer climates. However, many people just ignore this fact and take little water. This obviously hampers proper functioning of kidneys. There could be many reasons for taking too little amount of water from mere laziness to uneasy access to water - whatever the case you just can't afford to ignore your kidneys. Here are few suggestions:

- Add in your to do list to drink water at least 5-6 glasses during office hours.
- Keep a handy water bottle with you or on your desk.
- Write resolution in bold letters: 'I will drink plenty of water today'

AVOID HIGH INTAKES OF SALT AND PROTEIN-RICH DIETS

Anything used in excess is dangerous whether we are suffering from any disease or not. Same rule applies to high intakes of salt and protein-rich diets. It is important to remember that these ingredients are important for bodily functions. However, long-term excessive use could create problems.

MAINTAIN HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT

Healthy body weight can save you from innumerable problems. Healthy body weight measured in Body Mass Index (BMI) generally ranges from 18.5 to 25. To calculate your BMI, divide body weight in kg with your height in squared meter (kg/m2). 25-30 BMI is considered overweight and 30 plus BMI is obese which is very alarming situation. At least 30 minutes regular exercise can help you manage your weight along with healthy diet. This will also help against diabetes, which is contributing factor in kidney (renal) failure.

TAKEOUT TIME FOR REGULAR CHECKUPS AND HEALTH SCREENING

Early detection of any health problem increases chances of cure. Unfortunately, in our society many people visit clinics only when they are in trouble. Regular checkups help in detecting potential health risks.

CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE REGULARLY

According to the world health organization, over 600 million people worldwide are suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension). Prevalence of hypertension is very high in Pakistan; every second person of over 50 years of age is suffering from it.

Hypertension is an indication that there is something wrong with the body. Regular monitoring of blood pressure can help you detecting problem in early stage.

(The writer is Nurse Instructor The Aga Khan University School of Nursing, and Midwifery, Stadium Road Karachi)