Over 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (also called chronic kidney failure), according to the National Kidney Foundation. This amounts to roughly one in nine Americans. Moreover, millions of Americans are at increased risk for getting chronic kidney disease, which is the primary cause of weak kidney function. There is no cure for chronic kidney disease. However, early detection and treatment are the best ways to reduce the symptoms and prevent more serious kidney problems.
Determine your Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR). According to the National Kidney Foundation, early detection and treatment can keep weak kidney function from becoming worse and leading to kidney failure, which can be fatal. The best way to measure your level of kidney function is to determine your (GFR). Your doctor can measure this with a simple blood test. Once your GFR is determined, your doctor can discuss with you the best treatment plan. However, there are some basic things you can do to improve kidney function regardless of your GFR.
Determine the cause of the weak kidney function. Poor kidney function is often the result of a chronic illness. The most common examples include diabetes, high blood pressure, obstruction of urine flow, kidney artery stenosis, kidney diseases, and exposure to certain toxins. Determining the cause is important because the first priority in fighting poor kidney function is controlling the underlying condition.
Change your diet. Following a proper diet is extremely important in treating weak kidney function. According to the Mayo Clinic, restricting the amount of protein you eat may slow the progression of the disease. It may also help with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Moreover, reducing the amount of potassium and phosphorus you consume may help improve symptoms.
Explore pharmaceutical and herbal options. In addition to using medication to treat the underlying cause, you may need medication to treat the complications associated with weak kidney function. For example, poor kidney function may cause anemia which would require medication to induce the production of more red blood cells. Vitamins, such as vitamin D, may help prevent weak bones (another complication associated with weak kidney function). Many people believe that certain herbs, such as bearberry, can improve kidney function. Bearberry can be found in many teas.
Explore dialysis and kidney transplant options. If you are in the late stages of kidney disease, treating the underlying cause, changing your diet, and taking medications will not be sufficient. If your kidney is only functioning at 10-15 percent, you will need a dialysis machine or a kidney transplant to save your life.