The kidneys control a variety of vital functions. Therefore, kidney patients are more at risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure. It is therefore very worthwhile to take care of your kidneys.

The fine vessels in the kidneys cannot tolerate increased blood pressure. Without medication, blood pressure cannot be low enough. However, if the values ​​exceed 140/90 mmHg, therapy with antihypertensive drugs is necessary. Your doctor will decide which ones are good.

Especially if you suffer from type 2 diabetes, the values ​​in the blood for sugar levels and HbA1 should be checked regularly. Elevated values ​​damage the sensitive filter and vascular system of the kidneys through substances from the breakdown of glucose and through so-called advanced glucose end products.

Werner Riegel has been chairman of the German Kidney Foundation for 16 years. Until October 2021 he was director of the Medical Clinic III at the Darmstadt Clinic with a focus on kidney, high pressure and rheumatism diseases. Further information about kidney health can be found on the website of the German Kidney Foundation.

The best way to monitor your kidneys is to measure your eGFR (glomerular filtration rate) and UACR (urine albumin creatinine ratio). Ask your family doctor about this. From the age of 35, kidney health should be checked every three years. If there is an acute illness or a suspected kidney disease, the intervals must be shorter.

Smoking worsens kidney function. In particular, it accelerates the loss of function of already damaged kidneys. If you already suffer from chronic kidney disease, smoking increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke enormously. The risk of being dependent on dialysis treatment also increases.

If you are already suffering from kidney stones or if a family member is affected, then precautions must be taken. This varies because it depends on the type of kidney or ureteral stones. Therefore, you should specifically follow the advice of your family doctor, urologist or nephrologist.

Urinary tract infections can also pose a risk to the kidneys. Prevention and timely therapy are essential. Always make sure you drink enough. Two liters a day are enough, which prevents kidney stones and urinary tract infections and usually allows the kidneys to be adequately detoxified. Reach for water and fruit tea.

Salt is always processed in the kidneys. High salt consumption has a variety of harmful effects. Recent studies show that this increases blood pressure. Inflammation in the body increases. Our modern diet contains too much hidden salt and also extra added phosphorus. Therefore, it is recommended to choose fresh products, eat lots of fruits and vegetables. These contain very little salt and no extra phosphorus has been added to them. Potassium is bound in fresh food and a sufficient supply of protein can be obtained not only from animal sources but also from plants.

Exercise is important and essential for healthy blood pressure, adequate metabolic rate, and maintaining and strengthening muscles. However, the kidneys also have to fulfill these three tasks: regulation of blood pressure, detoxification of urinary substances, maintenance of the muscles. Exercise relieves the kidneys, a lack of exercise damages them.

A person should not eat more than 0.8 grams of meat per kilogram of body weight per day. This is what the professional societies recommend. More meat or even an excess (e.g. at a barbecue) leads to a multifaceted strain on the kidneys due to the breakdown substances that are produced, the amino acids. Kidney health depends on a balanced diet.