World Kidney Day – March 10
Kidneys: functions and importance
Most people associate the kidney with the function of purifying toxic substances from the blood, eliminating them through urine. However, the kidney performs many other vital functions for the body.
The kidney is responsible for controlling the levels of hydration, electrolytes (mineral salts) and acid-base in the body. This precise balance is essential for most of the chemical processes that occur in our body to be processed effectively.
The kidney is also involved in the production of hormones, such as erythropoietin, which controls the production of red blood cells, or renin, which regulates blood pressure. It is also in the kidney that the transformation of vitamin D into its biologically active form takes place.
Throughout our lives, kidney function will gradually and predictably decline. However, even at very advanced ages, kidney function is sufficient to ensure the proper functioning of our body. There are, however, certain situations in which the deterioration of kidney function occurs at an accelerated rate. The two diseases most often involved are diabetes and high blood pressure. Fortunately, proper control of these diseases can delay this decline.
There are many other diseases that affect the kidney, such as pyelonephritis (kidney infection), glomerulonephritis (glomerular damage caused for example by inflammation), nephrolithiasis (“kidney stones”), congenital and genetic or toxic diseases .
In most cases, kidney disease is asymptomatic until the advanced stages of the disease. They can, however, be manifested by a change in the color of the urine, excessive production of foam in the urine (proteinuria), fatigue, pallor, high blood pressure, edema (“swelling”, generally of the lower limbs and face) or change in the amount of urine produced.
To maintain kidney health, you should try to drink enough water, avoid substances that are harmful to the kidneys, such as smoking, excessive use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or excessive intake of salt in the body. ‘food. If you have conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you should try to follow your doctor’s instructions to maintain adequate control. These measures include, in addition to prescribed medications, regular exercise, a healthy diet and an adequate weight.
Text by: Hélder Esperto – Internist, CHUC