One-third of adults in the US are obese. One-third of adults in the US have hypertension. A little under 10% have diabetes. Closely following this, the prevalence of end stage kidney disease has escalated. Chronic kidney disease is an epidemic. It’s growing in huge numbers, and people aren’t realizing that modification of their diets is the root cause.

More than 26 million Americans — that’s one in nine adults — have kidney disease. Millions more are likely to develop the disease, but most of us fail to realize that we’re at risk. Much is known about who faces the greatest risks of developing chronic kidney disease and how it can be prevented, detected in its early stages, and treated to slow or halt its progression. But unless people at risk are tested, they are unlikely to know they have kidney disease; it produces no symptoms until it is quite advanced.

The symptoms of kidney disease don’t show up until you’ve lost most of your kidney function. That’s when you’ll experience the fatigue that’s not always a result of anaemia, the muscle cramps that usually – but not always – present themselves in your calves, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, easy bruising, itching and the shortness of breath when you exert yourself.

Such a lapse is hardly uncommon as Kidney disease often is not on the medical radar. A non-CKD patient’s blood is cleaned about 35 times a day. A CKD patient’s blood is cleaned progressively fewer times a day depending upon the stage of the patient’s disease. It is crucial to check the amount of protein in your urine at least once a year and wade all doubts of possible threats.

A study published in April online in The American Journal of Kidney Disease demonstrated how common lifestyle factors can harm the kidneys. Researchers led by Dr. Alex Chang of Johns Hopkins University followed more than 2,300 young adults for 15 years. Participants were more likely to develop kidney disease if they smoked, were obese or had diets high in red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened drinks and sodium, but low in fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains and low-fat dairy.

Obesity alone doubled a person’s risk of developing kidney disease; an unhealthy diet raised the risk even when weight and other lifestyle factors were taken into account.

Overall, the risk was highest among African-Americans; those with diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease; and those who consumed more soft drinks, red meat and fast food. People with high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or obesity who manage to avoid a heart attack or stroke remain at risk for kidney disease.

However, not everyone with chronic kidney disease is at a risk of progressing to end-stage renal disease. There are ways to prevent or slow down the escalation process. Maintaining good quality of life and improving one’s ability to stay fit eases the lives of many people with CKD.

A wellness approach includes:

  • Weight Control
  • A well-balanced diet
  • Regular physical activity
  • Controlled blood pressure
  • Controlled blood glucose
  • Quitting smoking
  • Restricted alcohol intake
  • Following your physicians advice

Watifhealth provides you a forum to learn as much as you can about your kidney disease and to carefully follow instructions from our healthcare team.