Be Kind to Your Kidneys During National Kidney Month

Dr. Lynn Jones

March is often associated with the arrival of spring, a time of renewal and cleansing. That idea of cleaning makes it the appropriate time for National Kidney Month, since kidneys are the body’s cleansing filters. The month is a good time to evaluate your overall kidney health, because it’s important to keep them healthy so they can continue to remove waste and excess fluids from your blood.

If your kidneys aren’t properly taken care of, you could find yourself suffering from chronic kidney disease. Also known as chronic renal failure or chronic renal insufficiency, this disease may happen when your kidneys are not functioning normally. Chronic kidney disease causes waste to build up in your blood and makes it difficult for this waste to exit your body.

Among the most common causes are years of uncontrolled high blood pressure, high blood sugar from uncontrolled diabetes, and long-term usage of certain medicines. Unfortunately, the symptoms of chronic kidney disease can be hard to spot, appearing mainly in the later stages if your kidneys start to fail. Patients would start to notice that they are urinating less than normal, feeling tired, gaining weight, or having difficulty sleeping. If you have diabetes, it is recommended that you are screened at least once a year with urine and blood tests.

If you are concerned that you may have chronic kidney disease, it’s important to see your doctor – after all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your doctor will have a number of ways to diagnose whether you have the disease, including blood and urine tests, ultrasound or CT scans, or a biopsy. As part of diagnosing the condition, your doctor will likely also ask personal questions, such as your family history, previous kidney problems, or your current and past medicines.

On the bright side, chronic kidney disease is treatable. Your doctor will prescribe the correct medicine to take, but it’s up to you to implement healthy lifestyle changes. These include a kidney-friendly diet, along with being active, limiting your use of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, and avoiding medications that are harmful to your kidneys.

So this March, take the time to evaluate your health, including asking yourself whether your lifestyle habits are beneficial for your kidneys. If you have any concerns, it’s important to consult your doctor. You can learn more about kidney diseases and how to treat them at