Doc encourages residents to, ‘show kidneys some love’

Grand Bahama Health Services (GBHS) Family Medicine Specialist Dr. Tiadra Johnson recently addressed the topic, “Show Your Kidneys Some Love” at the Rotary Club of Freeport Meeting kick-starting Kidney Health and Awareness Month, which is celebrated in March worldwide.

Kidneys are vital organs of the body that not only regulate blood pressure but also filter 120-150 quarts of blood daily, activate vitamin D for healthy bones, remove waste products from the body, direct production of red blood cells and balance the body’s fluids, Dr. Johnson informed Rotarians and guests.

With March designated as Kidney Health and Awareness Month, Dr. Johnson noted that it is imperative to drive home the poignant point that proper management of an individual’s kidneys, which are two bean shaped organs the size of a fist through conducting simple everyday tasks could be a life saver.

“Kidney disease can lead to serious health risks that affect various organs of the body therefore maintaining optimum health by “showing your kidneys some love” is paramount.

“Studies have shown that approximately 47 million persons in the United States of America or 14.8 percent of the adult population are affected by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and according to the World Health Organization in 2014, kidney disease has been the cause of 16 percent of deaths in The Bahamas, which serves as the ninth leading cause of death in the nation.

“Risk factors of CKD are separated into two categories, modifiable which involves diabetes, hypertension, history of acute kidney injury (AKI) and frequent use of NSAIDs, whereas non-modifiable pertains to family history of kidney diabetes, diabetes or hypertension, being age 60 or older and one’s race/ethnicity plays a key factor.

“Over the counter medication affects kidney health, whether it be long-term use of NSAIDs (aspirin, Aleve, Voltaren), acid reflux meds (Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium) and supplements such as Creatine and wormwood oil.

“It is imperative that persons ensure they undergo annual physical examinations, being sure to know whether or not they have diabetes or hypertension, are obese as well as have a family history of kidney disease.

“Be sure to have your physician run tests on urine-protein, blood- creatinine and calculation of glomerular filtration rate (GFR),” shared Dr. Johnson.

A proactive approach to maintaining proper kidney health must be taken and ensuring regular health checks and screenings are done on an annual basis is vital, revealed the GBHS Family Medicine Specialist, who indicated there are a few signs that can indicate kidney failure in its early stages inclusive of increased thirst and urine production, decreased appetite, weight loss, bad breath, vomiting and diarrhea, sore mouth, weakness and a lack of energy and increased sleeping patterns.

With early detection being one’s best protection when it involves health, Dr. Johnson gave both Rotarians and guests a few small yet significant tips to help them and those closest to them to properly care for their kidneys; she advised all to show love to their kidneys by drinking lots of water, limiting alcohol intake, eating healthy (lots of vegetables and fruits), no smoking, be active (walking, jogging etc.,) managing one’s diabetes, taking medications only as prescribed, managing, monitoring and maintaining healthy blood pressure and visiting one’s doctor for regular check-ups.

“World Kidney Day is celebrated on Thursday, March 8 and there are a number of initiatives planned by the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), The Kidney Center and the GBHS, which the entire Grand Bahama community is encouraged to support.

“As previously mentioned early detection can prevent progression of kidney disease and simply steps and changes in habit can make a significant difference in a person’s kidney health and functioning.

“Knowing one’s family history as it relates to kidney disease is imperative and screening those considered at high risk for kidney disease is key.

“In order to live a long and healthy life we have to begin now, taking our health serious and adhering to the instructions given that would aid us in maintaining optimal health across the chart.

“Maintaining a balanced diet and healthy weight can improve one’s overall well-being therefore, let us all, Rotarians and guests be intentional in transforming bad habits for a better future today,” declared Dr. Johnson.

Elsie Knowles, RCF President thanked Dr. Johnson for sharing nuggets of simple yet profound wisdom with the Rotarians and vowed to diligently work to ensure all take their health serious ad show their kidneys some love by making simple behavioral/habitual changes that could improve the kidney health and function, not only during Kidney Health and Awareness Month, but every day.

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