The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 25, 2013

Speaking of Health: Kidney-conscious decisions keep you healthy

By Dr. Fawad Qureshi
Mayo Clinic Health System


Just like the rest of your organs, kidneys don’t last forever. In fact, according to the National Kidney Foundation, you lose about 1 percent of kidney function per year after age 40. There are lifestyle-induced factors that can expedite the loss of kidney function and lead to chronic kidney disease, which is the gradual loss of kidney function over the course of months or years.

Your kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and excess fluids from your body. So when kidney functionality decreases, harmful amounts of fluid and waste can build up in your body. In most cases, you can prevent or manage any kidney issues by making healthy, kidney-conscious decisions.


Because kidney failure usually progresses slowly, symptoms may not surface until the condition is in its advanced stages. This underscores the need to monitor your health properly. It will ensure your ability to make lifestyle changes to prevent or manage the condition early on. Common symptoms of kidney disease include:


According to the National Kidney Foundation, diabetes and high blood pressure cause about two-thirds of chronic kidney disease cases.

Other risk factors include:


There are many lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your risk of suffering from chronic kidney disease.


From maintaining a healthy weight to monitoring your blood pressure and avoiding unnecessary medications, making kidney-conscious choices will pay dividends for your long-term health. It’s important to take preventive steps in order to keep your kidneys and body functioning at their optimal level. The best part is that you can start today!

Fawad Qureshi, M.D., is an intervention nephrologist at Mayo Clinic Health System.

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Health & Fitness coverage is supported by Mayo Clinic Health System, preserving the health and well-being of southern Minnesota communities.