Lower Your Risk for Kidney Disease

Contributors: Sarah Klemm, RDN, CD, LDN
Lower Your Risk for Kidney Disease

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The two most common causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. Nutrition can help manage both of these as well as reduce your risk of developing other conditions. Consider the following nutrition and lifestyle tips to help you take care of your kidneys:

  • Control Your Blood Sugar. Over time, high blood sugar can damage the kidneys. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, prediabetes or metabolic syndrome, manage your blood sugar as instructed by your physician.
  • Know and Control Your Blood Pressure. One in three adults has high blood pressure, also called hypertension, yet many do not have it under control. Keep sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. Adults with prehypertension and hypertension are encouraged to reduce their intake further to 1,500 mg per day. Have your blood pressure checked every time you visit the doctor or at least once a year.
  • Stay Physically Fit. Exercise improves blood flow through your body and improves muscle function, both of which help your kidneys. Exercise also lowers blood pressure, helps keep blood sugar levels in control and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat Well. A well-balanced eating plan, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet, focuses on nutrient-dense foods — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods, including poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds. These foods provide nutrients that have helped lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of other chronic diseases.
  • Use Pain Medication Only as Directed. High doses of pain medication over time may lead to kidney damage or injury. Take medicines the way your doctor or healthcare provider tells you to.

A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you develop an eating and exercise plan that is right for you, while helping you reduce your risk for kidney disease. Use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool to locate an RDN in your area.

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