How to Improve Kidney Function

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Kidney function can be increased by taking stressors off of the kidneys, which can include high blood pressure, obesity and poor diet. Improve your kidney function with the help of a practicing nephrologist in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Kidney & Bladder Health
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Video Transcript

Hey guys, Dr. Sean Hashmi here with Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills. I'm one of the Nephrologist down here. So today, I wanted to talk to you guys about how to improve kidney function. Well, let's talk about what actually damages the kidneys and once we know that, it's pretty easy to determine how you can help it. So, the three big things that affect kidney function are diabetes, high blood pressure and weight. These are your top three things that if you can fix these things, you can actually help the kidney along. The one thing you got to remember is if a kidney is damaged, means if the cells inside the kidney have died, you cannot get those cells back. What you can do is prevent ongoing damage. So, how to improve kidney function really means that if the cells are injured, you take the stressors off of them. So, weight loss extremely important. New studies coming out clearly show that if you can lose weight, you can slow down the decline in your glomerular filtration rate or basically your kidney function. Diabetes, we know the higher your diabetes is, meaning the worse control of your sugar is, the more likely you are to get diabetic nephropathy which is basically protein spilling in your urine. The more protein you spill in the urine, the more likely you are to have kidney damage, eventually kidney failure and have to do dialysis. So, sugar control, extremely important. High blood pressure; well, high blood pressure works the same way. You have high blood pressure for a long time, you will spill some protein in the urine and like we just said, protein will scar the kidney and eventually lead to failure. Not only that, high blood pressure by itself will scar the kidney and lead to kidney failure. So, controlling your blood pressure becomes extremely important. Now, now we get into some very tricky areas. So the first one is supplements. See, supplements by themselves are not bad if what you read on the bottle is what it is inside the bottle. So, if you can tell me that I'm going to take this herb and this herb contains this and there's scientific data to show that it's safe to take, then great, take. The worry that a lot of Nephrologists have is oftentimes people might be taking supplements or herbs that may have contaminants. What kind of contaminants? Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, etcetera and these can actually get stuck inside the kidneys and they can significantly damage the kidney. So a very important thing is to always talk to your doctor about what you're taking. Let them know and if there's any chance that some of these are not from reputable companies or haven't been tested, try to stay away from them. Lately on the market you'll find that a lot of products are coming out that have the USP Seal of Approval, not the US Pharmacopeia. And what that tells you is basically it's an independent way of testing to make sure that what's on the label is actually in the bottle. So, that's a reassurance for you. Ultimately, three main things, blood pressure, weight, diabetes. Fix those and you will do great. Last but not least is the question, "Well, what if I drink a lot of water?" If I drink a lot of water, wouldn't that flush things out and improve my kidney function? The answer is not really. Not really. You need to drink water when you're thirsty; but, there isn't anything that if you drink a lot of water that would improve it. The most important thing you can do is avoid things that damage the kidney. On that same note, be very careful about pain medications. What kind? Specifically non-steroidal and the inflammatory drugs. People who are on it for long time; we're talking years of taking hot large amounts or high dosage can actually get scarring or necrosis off the kidney and that can actually shut down your kidneys. So, pain killers, herbs, blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain. Those are the most important things that you should do to make sure that your kidney function stays optimal and also to improve it. This is Dr. Sean Hashmi with Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills talking about how to improve your kidney function. Thank you.

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