Kidneys, the bean-shaped organs located in the lower abdomen, play a crucial role in removing waste from the body. They also help in the metabolism of vitamin D, and maintain the pH level of the blood. As such, kidney health is an essential part of overall well-being.
But, kidney cancer — caused when kidney cells become cancerous and form a tumor — is among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women. In the wake of the same, every year June 16 is observed as World Kidney Cancer Day to spread awareness about the disease and how to manage it better.
“Kidney cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the kidney when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Overall, the lifetime risk for developing kidney cancer in men is about 1 in 46 (2.02 per cent), and in women it is about 1 in 80 (1.03 per cent),” said Dr Sanjeev Gulati, Principal Director-Nephrology & Kidney Transplant , Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj.
“The risk of developing kidney” cancer increases with age. Alongside, men are twice as likely to develop kidney cancer as women. High blood pressure, smoking, long-term dialysis, and excess weight are other common risk factors for kidney cancer, he added.
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Dr Swatantra Rao, Consultant, Uro-Oncology at Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram added that “cancer is a life-threatening disease but it has been categorized under lifestyle disease by World Health Organization”. As such, changing basic lifestyle practices can help prevent kidney cancer.
Here are some tips to help prevent the occurrence of the disease, according to the experts.
To be healthy, it is important to regulate one’s weight† “Do regular exercise and/or yoga for weight control,” Dr Gulati said.
Blood pressure control
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products can be beneficial. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, and it is very helpful in lowering blood pressure† According to Dr Rao, the intake of sodium should be reduced. “Even a small reduction in sodium in your diet can improve heart health and reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg, if you have high blood pressure,” he said. By doing so one can boost the consumption of potassium as that can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium in food is fruits and vegetables. Reducing the intake of alcohol and caffeine can also be helpful.
“Although the long-term effects of caffeine on blood pressure aren’t clear, it’s possible blood pressure may slightly increase,” he added.
Experts believe that smoking is a major cause of cancer. Dr Gulati said that quitting tuxedo can help in reducing blood pressure, too. “Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health. People who quit smoking may live longer than people who never quit smoking,” he added. He also suggested dialysis patients to get regular check-ups and opt for an early kidney transplant.
Dr Rao also added, “overuse of painkillers can also lead to kidney ailments, so it is advisable to consult a doctor before taking any such pills.”
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