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7 Tips for Healthy Living and Healthier Kidneys

1. Eat a diet low in salt and fat

Eating healthy can help prevent or control diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.  A healthy diet has a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, lean meats and beans.  Even small changes in your diet, like limiting salt (sodium) and fat, can make a big difference in your health.

2.  Be physically active

Exercise can help you stay healthy.  To get the most benefit, exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days of the week.  If that seems like too much, start out slow and work your way up. Look for fun activities that you enjoy. Try walking with a friend, dancing, swimming or playing a sport. Adding just a little more activity to your routine can help.

3. Keep a healthy weight

Keeping a healthy weight can help you manage your blood sugar, control your blood pressure, and lower your risk for kidney disease. Eating healthy foods and being physically active are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight.

4. Control your cholesterol

Having high cholesterol, especially if you have diabetes, puts you more at risk for kidney disease, heart disease and stroke.  High cholesterol can also cause diabetic kidney disease to get worse faster. Help keep your cholesterol under control through a healthy diet, exercise and, if needed, medicines prescribed by your doctor.

5. Take medicines as directed

To help protect your kidneys, take medicines as directed.  Some medicines may help you manage conditions that can damage your kidneys, like diabetes or high blood pressure.  Ask your doctor how to take any medicines he or she prescribes.

6. Limit alcohol

Drinking alcohol in large amounts can cause your blood pressure to rise and can put you more at risk for diabetes.  Limit how much alcohol you drink. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. If you take any medicines, check with your doctor or a pharmacist before drinking.

7. Avoid tobacco

Using tobacco (smoking or chewing) puts you more at risk for high blood pressure, kidney disease and many other health problems.