Smoking triples the risk of kidney disease. So why are you still smoking?
Kidney failure is one of the most serious and prevalent health threats facing Indigenous Australians. The number of patients affected has quadrupled over the past 10 years. It is fatal if it’s not treated.
Rates of kidney disease in the Top End of Australia are currently doubling every three and half years, with Aboriginal rates being more than 20 times those of the non-Aboriginal population. But there are plenty of things you can do to prevent kidney disease.
According to Kidney Health Australia’s Medical Director, Dr Tim Mathew, the simplest, most important lifestyle habit to change to reduce your risk of kidney disease is to stop smoking.
“People who smoke are three times more likely to have reduced kidney function, and have a four to five time’s greater risk of heart attack and stroke,” he says.
“Smoking causes a narrowing of the arteries, including the small vessels that are in the filtering section of your kidney. This reduces your kidneys’ ability to work properly.
“Smoking has also been linked to cancer of the bladder and the ureter – the small tubes that run from your kidneys to your bladder.
“The message is clear: don’t smoke. If you do smoke, giving up is one of the best things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy.”
Kidney Health Australia offers these kidney health tips:
Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain bread and rice;
Eat some lean meat such as chicken and fish at least once a week;
Eat reduced-fat and low-fat dairy products;
Limit the amount of fatty foods you eat, like fried fish and chips, fried or baked chicken, and potato chips; and
Lower your salt intake. Buy low or no-salt products and don’t add salt to food when you’re cooking or at the dinner table.
Exercise can offer you so many benefits. Not only can it help to maintain and reduce weight, it can also reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, which are risk factors for kidney disease.
You only need to exercise for 30 minutes on at least five days of the week to reap the benefits. And you don’t have to sweat it out at the gym or go jogging – a brisk walk is all you need.
Ditch the Durries
If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit! Quit today! Call the Quitline on 131 848 for advice and support.
For more information about kidney health, head to www.kidney.org.au