Blogs > Simply Fit

Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kicking Back Kidney Disease

With so much emphasis being placed on the prevention of heart disease, it is easy to overlook the role exercise has in promoting the health of other organs in your body, particularly the kidneys. The month of March is National Kidney Month, and this Thursday, March 11, is World Kidney Day. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is a voluntary health organization whose goal is to promote kidney health and prevent kidney disease. It has launched a national public education campaign, "Love Your Kidneys," that is devoted to educating the public about the functions of the kidneys in the body, the signs and symptoms of kidney problems, and the risk factors for developing kidney disease.

Now in its 60th year of operation, NKF has been responsible for increasing the awareness of the importance of prevention, early detection, and treatment of kidney disease. On their website, NKF outlines the following facts about chronic kidney disease (CKD):
  • 26 million adult Americans (1 in 9) currently have chronic kidney disease
  • More than 20 million Americans are at an increased risk for developing CKD
  • 71,000 individuals with CKD are waiting for kidney transplants
  • 18 patients with CKD die each day while waiting for a kidney transplant
  • Early detection reduces the risk of the progression of CKD to kidney failure
  • Heart disease is the most common cause of death for individuals with CKD
  • With doctor approval, exercise can be enjoyed by individuals with CKD and is encouraged because of its counter-effects on risk factors for kidney disease as well as other chronic disease states
The kidneys have many functions in your body which include:
  • Filter toxins and waste from your blood which, along with excess fluid, are excreted in your urine
  • Fluid regulation/balance in your body
  • Synthesis and release of hormones that function to regulate blood pressure and stimulate production of red blood cells
  • Regulation of various minerals in your body such as calcium, potassium, and sodium
When your kidneys do not function normally, a build-up of toxins and wastes in your blood stream can occur, as well as a retention of fluid in your body. As a result, you may experience complications such as hypertension (high blood pressure), anemia (decreased number of red blood cells), osteoporosis (decreased bone density), nutritional deficiencies, and damage to your nervous system.

Symptoms of kidney disease: Note that many individuals with CKD will not experience symptoms until they are in the advanced stages of the disease, hence the importance of early detection through screening tests.
  • Fatigue/decreased energy levels
  • Muscle cramps
  • Swelling of your extremities (hands and feet) and puffiness around your eyes
  • Poor concentration
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Decreased appetite
  • Frequent urination, particularly at night
Signs of chronic kidney disease:
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Protein and/or blood in your urine
  • Elevated creatinine and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) levels in your blood (these are indicators of waste in your blood stream - increased values indicate decreased kidney function)
  • Decreased glomerular filtration rate (GFR) - a glomerulus is a group of tiny blood vessels that function in the filtration process of the kidneys
Causes of chronic kidney disease:
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Glomerulonephritis (a group of disorders that cause inflammation and damage to the filtering units of the kidneys)
  • Genetic disorders
  • Birth defects
  • Auto-immune disorders, such as Lupus
  • Kidney stones, tumors, or enlarged prostate
  • Chronic urinary tract infections
Risk factors for chronic kidney disease:
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity (because of its link to diabetes and hypertension)
  • Family history
  • Older age
  • Race/ethnicity - African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans are at a greater risk
Detection of chronic kidney disease:
  • Urinalysis (to look for protein in your urine)
  • Blood tests (to determine your creatinine and BUN levels)
  • Blood pressure measurement
Treatment of chronic kidney disease:
  • Prevention, treatment, and management of diabetes and high blood pressure, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections
  • Dialysis (artificial filtering of your blood by a specialized machine) or kidney transplant in advanced stages (kidney failure)
The best approach to reduce your risk for the development of chronic kidney disease is prevention. Adhering to a healthy lifestyle that involves routine exercise and a nutritious diet will lower your risk for precipitating health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. The National Kidney Foundation urges the public to take advantage of one of their many free screening events to determine if you are at risk for, or already have, chronic kidney disease.

In honor of World Kidney Day, this Thursday, March 11, The University of Michigan Hospital will be hosting one of these free health fairs -"Amazing Kidneys, A World Kidney Day Event." This free health fair will take place in the Dow Auditorium at The University of Michigan Hospital between the hours of 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. It will offer free kidney and depression screenings and information on stress management, fitness, and nutrition according to June Swartz, a Peer Mentor Associate for the Michigan Chapter of the National Kidney Foundation. For more information on this event, call (734) 936-4999 or visit the website

Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.


University of Michigan Health System Daily Bulletin

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home