Kidneys are vital organs that help filter toxins from the body. While maintaining good kidney health is beneficial at any age, as a person gets older, taking good care of the kidneys becomes increasingly important. And if you are an elderly person with a chronic disease, it’s not just important to be kind to your kidneys — it’s a necessity. Below are some tips on what to watch out for, as well as some advice on how to maintain good kidney health.
If you have diabetes
Since diabetes can sometimes cause high blood sugar, kidneys may end up filtering a lot more blood than normal. After a while, all the extra work the kidneys are doing can cause kidney failure. When kidneys function falters, too many waste products increase in the body. This chain of events can also cause high blood pressure. In order to keep tabs on the kidneys and avoid problems, it’s recommended that diabetes patients get regular urine and blood tests from their doctor.
If you have high blood pressure
It’s also vital to monitor the health of your kidneys. High blood pressure can harm blood vessels — including vessels in the kidneys. If this happens, kidneys might slow down the filtering process, or stop removing waste from the system altogether. To help decrease blood pressure, it’s recommended that seniors make changes to their lifestyle. These changes include quitting smoking, getting more exercise, reducing salt and protein intake, and also avoiding hydrogenated oils. Making sure you get enough rest can also help.
Change your diet
In general, there are a number of foods seniors can eat to help reduce their chances of having kidney problems, or to decrease kidney problems if they already have them. In general, seniors should look for foods that include a lot of calcium and potassium, such as cabbage, apples, egg whites, red grapes, olive oil and fish. If you already have kidney problems, it’s important to use spices, herbs and sodium free seasonings in place of salt. Your doctor may ask you to avoid foods high in phosphorus, like meat, poultry, and dairy. When you cook, it’s usually recommended to boil, bake, roast or stir fry — but never deep fry your food.
Add in exercise
Exercising regularly is beneficial to many areas of physical health. It can reduce prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. What’s more, exercise can decrease your waistline. It can also have an effect on your emotional state. It’s been proven that regular exercise helps reverse feelings of anxiety and depression.
However, it’s recommended that seniors talk to their doctors before starting any exercise regimen, especially if you have a heart condition.
Seniors could consider doing any of the following exercises regularly, by themselves or with help from a caregiver:
- Quick-paced walks, and other exercises that help with cardiovascular health, like running, swimming or aerobics
- Resistance training exercises
- Daily activities such as gardening and household chores