Why you need to start thinking about your kidneys.

About 1 in 10 people have some degree of chronic kidney disease. Sadly, lots of those people won’t know anything’s wrong until damage reaches an advanced stage. We’re often reminded how to maintain a healthy heart. World Kidney Day on 13th March 2014 shows us just how important it is to pay attention to our kidneys too.

Did you know your kidneys help to control your blood pressure? Keeping your kidneys in good shape can also help keep your bones healthy – among lots of other vital functions. The organisers of World Kidney Day want us to find out more about these “complicated and amazing organs” and to show us how to keep them in good working order.

Why do I need to start thinking about my kidneys?

Most of us have given thought to our weight and our cholesterol level from time to time. By contrast, when was the last time you wondered if your kidneys were in good shape? How would you even know if something might be wrong?

Our kidneys are located deep in the abdomen, beneath the rib cage. They remove waste material from the blood and produce urine. They also perform a vital role in maintaining the body’s chemical balance by checking the blood stream levels of various minerals. They regulate blood acidity and by controlling the level of salt in the blood, they also help us maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

It is when kidneys no longer work as well as they used to – either as a result of specific disease, trauma or (most often) as a result of age-related wear and tear that we really appreciate just how important they are.

What happens when things go wrong?

“A thief that works quietly at night without creating any disturbance.” That’s how Kidney Research UK describes Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).  CKD is a catchall term that refers to the majority of renal conditions. It can occur at any age, but is most common in older people – with about half of people aged 75 or over having some degree of CKD. It is slightly more common in women than men.

The older the individual, the more likely it is that he or she will have some degree of kidney disease. The level of severity varies but most cases are mild or moderate and only very rarely will CKD progress to full kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplantation.

People with CKD have an increased risk of developing heart disease or a stroke. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to try and identify CKD at an early stage. Not only can treatment slow down progression of the condition, it can also reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular disease.

With mild to moderate CKD, a person is unlikely to experience symptoms. Symptoms very often only become apparent once CKD has become severe. What’s more, these symptoms tend to be rather vague, such as feeling generally tired, unwell and having less energy than usual. Other symptoms can include weight loss, a poor appetite, fluid retention leading to swollen feet and ankles, puffiness around the eyes and a need to pass urine more often.

Prevention is better than cure and more needs to be done to ensure CKD is identified as early as possible. That’s the message from the organisers of World Kidney Day. This means taking steps to control high blood pressure, proper management of diabetes, cutting back on salt and ditching processed fat and sugar-rich food in favour of plenty of fruit and vegetables. It also means not smoking and maintaining a healthy fluid intake.

Not only does early diagnosis benefit the individual patient, it also helps to take pressure off doctors and hospitals at a time when the NHS is under heavy financial strain. According to a report published by NHS Kidney Care, treatment of kidney disease in England costs more than breast, lung, colon and skin cancer combined. Identifying it at an earlier stage should relieve some of that burden.

How do I know if I have a kidney problem?

Kidney Research UK advises you should see your doctor if you have any of the following signs:

  • Darkness or redness in the urine
  • Urine that has an offensive odour or that looks very foamy
  • Any change in the amount of urine passed
  • Frequent urination, sometimes with pain or burning on passing urine
  • Persistent thirst
  • Swelling of the legs, hands, face
  • Raised or high blood pressure
  • Back pain in the renal area – especially if there is a fever
  • Anaemia
  • Tiredness or feeling unwell without apparent cause
  • Widespread itchy skin

Certain factors can mean you are at greater risk of developing the illness. With this useful self-assessment tool from NHS Choices, you can find out whether you should have your kidney function checked.

Fortunately, it only takes a few simple steps to identify potential kidney problems. Early diagnosis and expert care in most cases means CKD can be managed successfully.

For quick access to kidney specialists and other consultant doctors working at the heart of the NHS, you may be interested in the new subscription service. This consultant-led service provides members with speedy access to specialists without having to go through the GP referral process. To find out more, visit .

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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fuelling fun for the young at heart!

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15th Mar 2017
Thanks for voting!
Very helpful and informative. I look forward to learning more via Silversurfers. Thank you.
26th Feb 2015
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I do find the article a well informed source of information.I hope this information should be given to the general public so that they can take action if and when they need to.
22nd Jun 2014
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Anyone with kidney disease should avoid taking Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs e.g. Aspirin,ibuprofen ,night nurse. Paracetamol is not NSAID so can be used. Also kidney disease is often inherited e.g. Poly cystic kidneys so check with family members and see your GP if family history. Good luck.
22nd May 2014
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WHAT THEY DON'T LIKE to tell us is that most serious kidney diseases are the direct result of prescription medications!

This article skirts around this problem with great ease - yet this is where the problem lies!

Almost all blood pressure, arthritis, and severe pain medications will eventually begin to deteriorate kidney function.

Patients should be made fully aware, at the outset, of all medications of the side-effects they can expect after prolonged use.
14th May 2014
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Please ditch your normal salt and look for proper ancient quality full of mineral salt like Real Salt. It can lover the blood pressure and much more. You can find it online (
Mr J V O'Callaghan
27th May 2014
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13th May 2014
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To help failing kidneys, it is essential to have no animal protein, and as little protein as possible. But of course the body must have protein, so have Whey protein, which supplements the protein in food and dairy products. Also avoid too much sugar and starches, which convert to sugar in the body. What happens is that protein molecules combine with sugar molecules in the body and form a deadly gang that attacks and destroys healthy cells. This is what makes us age. The amino acid L CARNOSINE prevents protein and sugar molecules from damaging healthy cells, and slows down CKD and aging. Also drink only PURE WATER like Highland Spring, which is filtered through organic soil. Never drink unfiltered, unboiled tap water! Change your diet!
Look online for a good diet, like this one at Da Vita.
The CKD Non-Dialysis Diet Kidney disease
kidney-friendly recipes on
9th Apr 2014
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Reference to the above you always have to look after them, am a transplant patient of 13years am mine being doing well you just have to change your lifestyle
margaret henderson
22nd Mar 2014
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ive been diagnosed with a leaking kidney and would like to know if you can get medication to slow progress down i have a blood test every month
22nd Mar 2014
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Hello Margaret and sorry to hear that. We cannot offer you actual medical advice, as we are not qualified to do so .. your best thing would be to consult your GP.. Good luck 🙂
20th Mar 2014
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What can we do in order to have an healthy Kidney condition
shropshire lad.
17th Mar 2014
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It took me 3 months of pain to be diagnosed with "80% blockage in right kidney + 30% blockage in left AND an Anurism in the left kidney artery.

Then another 4 months to actually see a specialist who said "no need to operate" but keep taking the pain-pills.

At age 62, a Vegetarian non-smoker with ideal weight and limited alcohol, I feel really peed-off with the thought that the remainder of my life being plagued with CKD and no sign of improvement.

No doubt, when I croak-it, the doctors will say "we told you how important Kidney health was", but not actually doing anything sustantive to help sufferers in their lifetime - except of course prescribing medication which is less cost than surgery!
19th Mar 2014
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You seem to be totally unlucky as you have done all the right things to prevent problems. What was your excercise level like? Did you have a job where you were exposed to paints or chemicals of any sort? A friend of mine was super allergic to spray paint and even though he worked in the office some distance away from source, he was made ill by the feeble amount of toxins reaching him. Good luck in your efforts to deal with this anyway.
9th Apr 2014
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Hello Rosemary Sorry For Your ill health ! Do You realize Many Diseases are Vitamins Related If One Has Deficiency Or More , One Becomes ill, Because The Body Is In-Balance . could Be wise To get checked To Know Where You Stand !!!!! Good Luck xx
Rosemary Lawrence
13th Mar 2014
Thanks for voting!
I've been diagnosed with CKD
About 2 yrs ago,
I do have fairly regular blood tests. However, but this last one showed more significant damage..
As I suffer from high B/P and take 2 meds for it..
And had a massive heart attack in 2004,
I take other meds too.
Which have also damaged my kidneys..
If I need certain type pain meds or antibiotics, I cannot take them..any more.
I'm at my wits end. Not being able be free from back pain arthritis, and constant . Bladder infections..
Bernadette Mooney
9th Apr 2014
Thanks for voting!
Hi rosemary I sufferd for years with same as you bladder infections are my nightmare but I've been using a alternative medicine which I seen on cystitis forum. It had great reviews it allowed me to stop taking antibiotics which I've been on for 10 year's I've tried everything .It's called activated quercetin it also has bromelain in you must have the combined. It's on ebay by source naturels .it's worth a try good luck
Brenda Hewitt
10th May 2014
Thanks for voting!
Cordyceps made by Tiens ( and Antilipemmic Tea will do miracles for your kidneys and general health. I no longer have any kidney related problems since using them I am happy to give you more information

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