Just how important are your kidneys? We may not see them in action at all, but their role in keeping your health in check should never be underestimated. Located in the abdominal cavity, your kidneys perform a variety of important tasks, such as eliminating wastes and water from the blood, balancing your body chemicals, releasing hormones, helping regulate blood pressure, and producing blood cells and the all-important Vitamin D.
How to Care for Your Kidneys
If your kidneys are normal, the good news is that there are only two simple things that you need to do to care for them: eat a balanced diet (eat more plant-based food and avoid refined and oily food) and drink enough water. However, there are other doable practices that will also help maintain or improve kidney health (particularly if you already have kidney problems or are at risk of them).
Monitor blood pressure and sugar. Two of the leading causes of kidney diseases are diabetes and high blood pressure. Too much glucose in the blood causes damage to the kidney’s millions of filtering units, while high blood pressure wreaks havoc on the blood vessels in your kidneys.
Avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine. If you are a regular smoker, it might be time to kick the habit as smoking increases the risk of kidney disease. Excessive alcohol intake also strains kidneys to work doubly hard to eliminate toxins from the blood, while caffeine is a diuretic that speeds up dehydration-causing fluid loss, which puts even more pressure on your kidneys. Try sticking to decaffeinated green tea for a change.
Practice an active lifestyle. Cliché as it may be, getting adequate physical exercise is a good way to care for your kidneys and the rest of your body. Some great forms of exercise to try are light yoga, walking and even gardening.
Water in Dialysis Treatments
For those who are already experiencing more serious kidney problems (i.e. loss of kidney function), the most obvious treatment to turn to is dialysis, which involves artificially removing waste and unwanted water from the blood. Dialysis treatments, however, can only be really safe if the water used is of very high quality.
Leading health institution Makati Medical Center is the first Philippine hospital to perform reverse osmosis on the water used in these treatments. Says Dr. Antonio Cayco, Section Head of the Kidney Unit, of this procedure: “The reverse osmosis treatment that we do on the water is very important. As in the movie, you often usually just see the finished product. Take into consideration the production in the background. With high quality water, the dialysis machine and our team, the patient gets the best care possible.”
So just how important is pure, clean water in dialysis? “Dialysis facilitates waste elimination for those whose kidneys are not functioning well anymore, so ensuring the high quality of water is very, very important,” Dr. Cayco stresses. “Reverse osmosis produces the purest water, and at the MakatiMed, we follow the hospital standard for American sanitation. Water goes through a stringent 3-stage testing, which involves strict engineering and daily bacteria checks, among others.”
He adds: “Just as waste can exit the bloodstream, dirt and other particles can easily enter with bad water—and this can severely affect the bones and even the brain, even causing Dementia. With reverse osmosis, we can ensure that the water is not only bacteria or germ-free, but even mineral-free.”
With these stringent procedures, kidney treatment just got safer and more streamlined. Dr. Cayco concludes: “The role of water in this type of treatment should never be taken for granted. Families and loved ones should regularly check with their doctors to monitor the quality of water being used for dialysis.”
Other treatments offered by MakatiMed’s Kidney Unit include Hemodialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis, kidney transplant, and Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) and Sustained Low Efficiency Dialysis (SLED) for critically-ill patients.
For more information, visit the Makati Medical Center’s Kidney Unit at the 1st Floor, Tower 2, No. 2 Amorsolo St., Makati City on Mondays to Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. You may also call the MakatiMed 24/7 On-Call Hotline at 8888-999 local 3107 or 3108 or visit www.makatimed.net.ph