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Your Kidneys Are Older Than You Think
--- 7 Ways You Destroy Your Kidneys
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December 11, 2016
By Susan Callahan, Contributing Columnist




Okay, we're all getting older, there's no escaping that fact. But did you
know that not all of you ages at the same rate.  Your hair, heart, legs,
back, brain and other organs ---they all age at different rates.

And did you know that, your kidneys age faster than any other organ?

According to scientists from Oregon Health & Science University and the
Portland VA Medical Center, your kidneys perform under-par from the
time you are born until you reach 1 year old. From that age on, until
you reach age 40, your kidneys purr along at an optimal rate. Then,
they decline. You lose about 8% of your kidney function for every
decade of life after age 40.

So by age 50, you're down to 92% of your optimal capacity.

By age 60, you are down to 84% of your optimal capacity.

By age 70, you're down to 76% of your peak performance.

By age 80, you're down to 68% of your optimal capacity.


You get the picture.  But here is the bottom line risk. Having impaired
kidney function makes you more vulnerable to diseases such as
glomerulonephritis and aminoglycoside nephrotoxicity. These disease
put you at high risk for end-stage renal disease.  

What causes kidney decline? What are the lifestyle factors or other
risks that make your kidney age faster than it should?  




Symptoms of Kidney Decline


































The job of your kidneys is to filter out impurities in your blood. They
are a part of your body's waste disposal system.

If your kidneys are not functioning properly, your body lets you know.
You may experience one of more of the following symptoms:


  • getting up at night to urinate urgently

  • not being able to completely empty your bladder

  • not being able to urinate

  • having blood in your urine

  • having dark-colored urine

  • having foamy urine





7 Ways You Accelerate Your Kidney's Decline


1. High Blood Pressure Makes Your Kidneys Older Faster

Having hypertension makes your kidneys age faster. Your average
blood pressure directly correlates to the age of your kidney, according
to a landmark 1984 study.


The study, led by Dr. Robert Linden of the National Institutes of
Health's Gerontology Research Center, looked at 446 men between teh
ages of 22 and 97 who had participated in the Baltimore Longitudinal
Study of Aging.

What the study showed was that men with moderately high blood
pressure to severely high blood pressure experienced progressive
decline in the kidney's ability to filter out waste products such as urea,
inulin and creatinine.


Here is what they found. Men between the ages of 20 to 29 had a
typical blood pressure of 125 over 70. Their kidneys could clear 151.8
cc of creatinine per minute.

Men between the ages of 40 and 49.9 had a typical blood pressure of
124.4 over 83.1, which is about the same as a man 10 years younger
but their kidneys could clear 144.4 cc of creatinine per minute, which is
about 5 % less than a man at age 29.

Men between the ages of 50 and 59.9 had a typical blood pressure of
130.5 over 83.7 and their kidneys could clear 134.4 cc of creatinine per
minute, which is 11.4% less than a man at age 29.

The men at age 90 and 100 had typical blood pressure readings of 150
over 76. But their kidneys were almost shot. At that age, their kidneys
could only clear 32 cc of creatinine per minute, a 79% decline from age
29 and a 78% decline from age 40.


The morale of this story is, if you have hypertension, it's not just
hurting your heart and cardiovascular system. It's killing your kidneys.



2.
Smoking Damages Your Kidney Function

Being a smoker or having smoked in the past increases your risk for
kidney decline, according to a 1999 study by researchers from the
Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The study found that men who had smoked in the past but who had
stopped still had a 20% higher risk for kidney disease than men who
had never smoked.

Men who were current smoker had more double the risk of kidney
disease than men who had never smoked.


Now, you have 1 million and 1 reasons to quit smoking.


3.
Exposure to Lead Ages Your Kidneys by 20 Years

Being exposed to low levels of lead over long periods of time
accelerates the aging of your kidneys. A 1996 study from Harvard
Medical School examined 459 men from the Boston area. They
determined the amount of lead the men had been exposed  to and over
what period of time.

What they found was that for every 10 fold increase in lead exposure,
the kidneys aged by 20 years.

These days, we have regulations which in general protect us from lead
exposure in our homes. However, you still can find old lead paint in
older homes. You may also be exposed to lead in your job if you work
with metals.

4.
Having Artery Disease Raises Your Risk for Kidney Decline

Any amount of arterial disease raises your risk for kidney decline the
same researchers who conducted the study on smoking found.

Cardiovascular disease is pretty common in the United States. Of the
330 million Americans, 85. 6 million adults "are living with the after
effects of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke".

And we're not alone. Heart disease is the number one cause of death
ion the world, having caused 17.3 million death sin 2016 and expected
to cause 23 million deaths per year by 2030.

If these statistics do not motivate you to cut back on those fatty
burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and french fries,
nothing will.

I know, I know --- those fries are so darned good.  You don't have to
give them up entirely.  Just cut back some. Eat at fast food places no
more than once or twice per month. I know you can go to these places
to buy salads, too, but who are we kidding?

You may kid yourself but you heart, arteries and kidneys aren't
laughing.


5.  
Having a Bad Cholesterol Profile Ages Your Kidneys

Your cholesterol profile can be bad in two ways --- either you too much
of the "bad" cholesterol (LDL) or too little of the good cholesterol
(HDL).

Having an HDL level that is lower than optimal (40 to 50 mmol/dL)
increases your risk for kidney disease, according to the 2004 National
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study conducted
in Framingham, Massachusetts.


6.
Overloading Your Kidneys Can Age Them Quickly

If you have light or moderate kidney dysfunction, you could simply be
giving your kidneys too much work to do.

Iron levels are a tricky thing to manage if you have kidney disease. The
National Kidney Foundation says that having kidney disease makes it
harder for your body to maintain iron levels, and thus you are more
likely to be anemic if your kidneys are impaired. The Foundation
therefore recommends that you check with your doctor and perhaps
take iron supplements if you have kidney impairment.

On the other hand, your kidneys have to work especially hard to clear
out heavy metals such as iron or minerals such as potassium from your
bloods.

If your blood work shows that your iron levels are too high --over
100% of your target level of 100ng/mL-- consider reducing the
amount of iron rich foods in your diet such as egg yolks, chicken livers,
bananas and beans. Again, check with your doctor.


But wait, you might ask, aren't these foods actually useful in controlling
high blood pressure. Yes, with the exception of the egg yolks, they are.

You have to have your blood checked periodically to better calibrate
how much potassium and other minerals are optimal for you.



7.
Being Overweight Is Strongly Correlated with Kidney Decline


And last, but not least, being overweight ages your kidneys. You know
the drill by now. You should strive to be as close to your ideal body
weight as possible.
Here is a chart.

Think of yourself as a company whose goal is weight loss. Have a daily
record of your weight. That will mean weighing yourself every day at
the same time. Then, write the number down.  

Set a quarterly goal for weight loss. You may want to lose 10 pounds
for the first quarter, ending March 31; 10 pounds for the second
quarter ending June 30, 10 pounds by September 30 and 10 pounds by
December 31. That would be 3.3 pounds per month, 40 pounds per
year.

Things which are measured, improve. Things which are not measured,
tend to fly out of control.


Once you meet a monthly or quarterly goal, celebrate by doing
something special for yourself.














































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Watch your protein and iron intake to
reduce the workload on your kidneys.