The kidneys are vitally important organs in our bodies. The major functions of the kidneys include:
- Regulation of extracellular fluid volume. The kidneys work to ensure an adequate quantity of plasma to keep blood flowing to vital organs.
- Regulation of osmolarity
- Regulation of ion/electrolyte concentrations
- Regulation of pH
- Excretion of wastes and toxins
- Production of hormones
There are many reasons why kidneys can become damaged and not do the work required to keep our blood “clean”. Some of these reasons include autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosis (“Lupis”), high blood pressure, medications such as the NSAIDS (motrin, aspirin) and similar meds and diabetes.
Independent of increasing the risk of diabetes and the affect of diabetes on the kidneys, does obesity represent an independent risk factor for developing kidney disease? The answer is a definite “yes”.
One of the major reasons why obesity hurts the kidneys is because of the activation of a hormone system (renin-angiotensin-aldosterone) that results in blood vessels constricting. When blood vessels constrict, this causes elevated pressure, which in turn, leads to damage of that organ. Obesity is also linked to an increase in risk of kidney stones as well as kidney cancer.
If you have not had a urine test to see if you have protein in the urine (a sign of potential damage) or a blood test to check your serum BUN and creatinine, please head to your doctor pronto to have these checked.
We all want healthy kidneys and your successful weight control will increase the chances of your kidneys doing the work they need to do.