The kidneys are two organs in the body whose proper functioning is vital for human life. In each kidney there are thousands of small microfilters (glomeruli) that are responsible for maintaining the proper balance of water, minerals, acids, bases, toxic substances and nutrients necessary for a good functioning of our body. In addition, the kidneys produce hormones that help in the production of red blood cells and maintain hemoglobin (Hgb) and other substances that strengthen our bones to acceptable levels. These microfilters act as “strainers” where, depending on the holes or pores of each, normal or excessive amounts of albumin or red blood cells in the urine are retained or leaked.
The presence of small amounts of albumin in the urine (microalbuminuria) may be indicative of an initial kidney disease. Among the diseases that can affect these microfilters are diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2, and hypertension. These conditions can affect the performance of microfilters and, depending on the damage they cause to these structures, the filters or pores are enlarged, allowing large amounts of albumin and red blood cells to pass into the urine. Progressively, the microfilters and their pores are clogged, and can not perform the functions of the kidneys to normal levels. According to the loss of the microfilters, toxic substances can be retained that can do damage in our body. In addition, anemia (under Hgb) and possible weakening of the bones can occur.
The overall functioning of microfilters is well known, such as renal function. There are clinical laboratory tests that can, in a simple way, detect whether your microfilters are working properly. The two tests used to evaluate kidney function are serum creatinine, which measures the function of the kidney and albumin in the urine. If we know the value of these tests, we can detect the overall functioning of microfilters or, in other words, the total renal function of both kidneys. This way, you can know if your kidneys are functioning normally, mild, moderate or severe and if you need dialysis. It is vital that you know the functioning of your kidneys. Ask your doctor to tell you which stage of function your kidneys are in. In short, early detection of problems in the functioning of your kidneys can help you avoid, in many cases, the progressive deterioration of your kidney function and the possibility that you need dialysis. Prevention now or pay later: that is the slogan. To protect the functioning of your kidneys, the following is recommended:
- Controlled blood pressure.
- Decreased microalbumin, if detected.
- Normalization of blood sugars.
- Maintain the ideal weight for your height.
- Decreased consumption of salt.
Suitable cholesterol levels, especially bad cholesterol, known as LDL. Acceptable protein intake (levels acceptable for a healthy adult are: 1 gram for each kilogram of weight). Avoid using medications to control pain (such as naproxen-related medications). Proper use of natural medicines, as some of these can cause damage to the kidneys. The author is chief medical director of P.R. RENAL HEALTH & amp; RESEARCH, in Carolina, Guaynabo, Ponce and Toa Baja. For information, call 787-710-CKDC (2532).