Recently, a popular and talented singer, songwriter and music producer was diagnosed of kidney failure and required a transplant which was estimated at over N10million. He cried out to friends and foes to donate to save his life. As at the time of writing this report, he was already back from abroad where the transplant was carried out. this is not an isolated case.
Over 300 million people worldwide suffer from chronic kidney disease according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and sadly in 2012 alone over 3million people died of kidney related problems. Let us come back home to Nigeria, what is it like?
Currently, it is estimated that over 36 million Nigerians are suffering from various stages of kidney disease. According to Dr. Ebun Bamboye, a renowned Nephrologist Consultant, 1 in every 7 Nigerians is at one stage or another of kidney failure. That is totally unacceptable!
What is Kidney?
Your kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs, as shown in the picture. Despite the fact that the kidneys are small organs by weight, they receive approximately 20% of the blood pumped by the heart. Blood flows to your kidneys, then they process the blood by removing the toxins and wastes, the processed and purified blood is then sent back to the body whereas the toxins are flushed away from your body through urine. Urine then flows from the kidneys through the ureters into the bladder. In the bladder, the urine is stored until it is excreted from the body through the urethra. That is the natural flow.
Without the kidneys, waste products and toxins would accumulate in the body up to a level that they become dangerous to your body. However, there are basic factors that can affect the functioning of the kidney – 1) Toxic buildup, 2) unhealthy eating habits and 3) medications. These can lead to the kidney becoming inflamed, infected, and develop kidney stones or outright kidney failure.
Functions of the Kidney
The kidney is such an important organ considering its various functions as listed below:
- Regulates the composition of your blood;
- Keep constant the concentrations of various ions and other important substances;
- Regulates the volume of water in your body;
- Eliminate wastes from your body (eg. urea, drugs, toxic substances);
- Help regulate your blood pressure;
- Stimulate the production of red blood cells;
- Maintains your body’s calcium levels.
The kidneys must also remove waste, uric acid, and ammonia from the body. That’s why your first urination in the morning is usually darker in color and has a stronger odor , because while you were asleep, the kidney was busy collecting the toxins for elimination.
Apart from its natural functions, our modern lifestyle has put more burden on the kidney. We eat more animal fats, more protein, and more refined sugars and processed foods. That’s why Nigerians are developing kidney diseases 10 times more frequently than our grandparents from previous generations.
Habits that can lead to Kidney problem:
Our modern lifestyle promotes and aids all kinds of diseases people are suffering today, which includes kidney disease. Below are some of the faulty habits that may damage your kidney:
- Excessive alcohol and soft drinks consumption
- Not emptying your bladder when there is a need to
- Not drinking enough water
- Eating a high-protein diet
- Eating too much processed/refined foods
- Prolonged use of medication
- Not resting sufficiently
What is Chronic Kidney Disease?
It is the gradual loss of the functions of the kidney over time, which is primarily the elimination of waste and excess water from the body. This is usually caused by high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake.
Chronic kidney disease is also called silent killer because the symptoms are not usually obvious.
Some of the Symptoms are:
- persistent vomiting,
- facial puffiness,
- dry skin
- loss of Appetite
- unexplained weight loss
- sleep disorder
- low libido
At the extreme case, the kidneys are no longer able to eliminate toxins and excess water from the body. At this stage the person will require dialysis to filter waste out of their blood or get a kidney transplant.
Dialysis or kidney transplant are not cheap. On the average, a session of dialysis cost N25,000.00 and its done at least three times a week, so we are talking of about N75,000 per week. Do you have that kind of money? Now come to talk of kidney transplant, that alone cost about N8million.
Looking at the cost implications of treating kidney disease, you will agree with me that prevention is better than cure. It is a course of wisdom to maintain our kidney.
Your kidneys need maintenance and cleansing.
Kidney damage usually takes place gradually and without symptoms and it may only be after years of kidney disease that kidney functioning becomes noticeably decreased. In kidney disease one can generally lose more up to 75% of kidney functions before the effects become acutely obvious.
How can you maintain your kidney?
There are two basic ways the kidney can be maintained:
1) healthy eating and change in lifestyle
You need to avoid any lifestyle that could put your kidney under unnecessary burden, creating additional work for the kidneys. To achieve this, you need to follow these steps:
- Reduce alcohol consumption,
- Stop smoking,
- Do not abuse drugs such as pain killers and antibiotics
- Avoid the use of do not use bleaching creams.
- Avoid processed foods.
- Eat more of fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce your weight if you are already overweight
- Be physically active
- If you are in doubt see your doctor
Kidney Health Boosting Vegetables
However, to prevent kidney failure, some fruits and vegetables have been identified by dieticians, nutritionists and naturopaths that can help boost kidney function and lower blood pressure and glucose, which are two of the major causes of kidney damage.
The kidney health boosting vegetables include:
- scent leave(nchuanwu in ibo and effirin in Yoruba)
- bitter leaf
Detox is a cleansing process with fruits and vegetables recipes. Detoxification is an all-natural kidney-support and maintenance culture. It is designed to help cleanse the body of toxic overload and its natural function, thereby minimizing your chance of developing kidney related problems.
Reasons why you may want to do a kidney detox:
- You’re feeling fatigued or more tired than usual.
- You feel pain in your kidneys after eating certain foods (or processed “phoods”).
- You’re experiencing skin problems like eczema, acne or rashes.
- You have a hormonal imbalance or feel extra moody.
- You’ve had kidney stones in the past.
- You’re experiencing weight gain and bloating.
- You have frequent or infrequent bladder problems or UTI’s.
Almost anyone can benefit from doing a kidney cleanse. Throughout history, humans have always used fasting or cleansing as a way to detoxify not only the physical body, but the emotional body as well. If you’re already in good health, then doing a yearly kidney cleanse can be a gentle form of prevention for you.
Regular body detox will help you to maintain a healthy kidney and also total change in your lifestyle – eating healthy foods, that means less processed foods, less alcohol intake and stop smoking.