“Kidney Health For All” is the theme of today’s World Kidney Day
Kidney diseases are silent killers, which will largely affect your quality of life. The mission of World Kidney Day is to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems.
Nutrition plays an important role in keeping kidneys healthy
Registered Dietitian and ADSA spokesperson, Brigitte Leclercq recently visited the Seychelles to provide counselling to dialysis patients at Victoria Hospital. She is graduating with her Masters in Nutrition on kidney disease in June 2015 and will be presenting her research at the World Congress of Nephrology in March 2015.
Brigitte’s visit to Victoria Hospital was to help 100 dialysis patients with their meal plans, giving them guidelines on what they can eat and what they should avoid. During her two weeks in the Seychelles, Brigitte provided individual meal plans to each of the 100 dialysis patients at Victoria Hospital. In the Seychelles the rate of patients with kidney failure is extremely high, considering that over 100 patients are receiving dialysis in a population of 90 000 people. Seychelles is currently one of the most obese nations in sub-Saharan Africa. For optimum health, diets should consist of more healthy food options such as grilled fish and vegetables. Unfortunately there is a prevalence of diets high in fat in the Seychelles as most of the food is fried and too much takeaway food is being consumed.
High blood pressure and diabetes are the two biggest causes of kidney failure. Many people in the Seychelles and in South Africa who are overweight develop high blood pressure and diabetes, and eventually need dialysis unless they drastically change their nutrition and their lifestyle.
What can you do for your kidneys today?
www.worldkidneyday.org has the following 8 tips: to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease:
Keep fit and active
Keeping fit helps to reduce your blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease.
Keep regular control of your blood sugar level
About half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage, so it is important for people with diabetes to have regular tests to check their kidney function.
Monitor your blood pressure
Although many people may be aware that high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, few know that it is also the most common cause of kidney damage.
Eat healthy and keep your weight in check
This can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease.
Reduce your salt intake. The recommended sodium intake is 5-6 grams of salt per day (around a teaspoon). In order to reduce your salt intake, try and limit the amount of processed and restaurant food and do not add salt to food. It will be easier to control your intake if you prepare the food yourself with fresh ingredients. For more information on nutrition and kidney friendly cooking, visit our nutrition page
Maintain a healthy fluid intake
Although clinical studies have not reached an agreement on the ideal quantity of water and other fluids we should consume daily to maintain good health, traditional wisdom has long suggested drinking 1.5 to 2 litres (3 to 4 pints) of water per day.
Do not smoke
Smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. When less blood reaches the kidneys, it impairs their ability to function properly. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50 percent.
Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis
Common drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly.
Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the ‘high risk’ factors
- you have diabetes
- you have hypertension
- you are obese
- one of your parents or other family members suffers from kidney disease
- you are of African, Asian, or Aboriginal origin
*Brigitte Leclercq’s visit to the Seychelles was made possible by The Ministry of Health and the dialysis centre in the Seychelles and a travel sponsorship from Eden Island, who also sponsored posters and dietary notes for all the patients.