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Don’t be risky with your kidneys

Kidneys play a vital role in overall health and are so important most people are born with two.

Yet one in 10 Queenslanders have signs of kidney disease and one in three were at risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

Professor Keshwar Baboolal, Consultant Nephrologist at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, said risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, heart problems, and a family history.

"If found early, lifestyle changes and medication can increase the life of kidneys. But quite often people with kidney disease lose 90 per cent of their kidney function before getting any symptoms," he said.

Prof Baboolal said it was critical people kept an eye out for signs which could indicate reduced kidney function. These include:

  • changes in urine (frothy, foaming, blood)
  • pain in kidney area
  • headaches
  • lack of concentration
  • loss of appetite
  • itching
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pins and needles in fingers or toes.

"If you have any of these signs or are concerned about the health of your kidneys, see your doctor," he said.

Kidneys work incredibly hard to clean blood, regulate blood pressure, balance the amount of water in the body and manage the production of vitamin D.

"Without kidney function our body dies, so that’s why it’s important to keep our kidneys healthy,’’ Prof Baboolal said.

Reduce the risk of kidney disease by:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • staying fit
  • eating a healthy diet
  • being a non-smoker
  • drinking alcohol in moderation
  • reducing stress
  • controlling blood pressure
  • controlling blood glucose if you have diabetes.
Last updated: 14 March 2019