7 Ways To Protect Your Kidneys From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease that causes joint inflammation and pain. It usually affects the joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. This persistent, systemic inflammation targets arthritis in your joints and can also affect your heart, lungs, and kidneys. People with Rheumatoid arthritis are more chance of developing chronic kidney disease, which can lead to severe complications. It is important to know the kidney involvement in rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, you must take steps to lessen this health risk and maintain the health of your kidneys.
Let's discuss the connection between RA and kidney disease and how to protect your kidneys from RA.
The Connection Between RA and Kidney Disease
Kidney disease is more common in Rheumatoid arthritis patients. According to the American Journal Of Kidney Diseases, from 2014, patients with rheumatoid arthritis had a probability of one in four in getting chronic kidney disease.
Inflammation caused by RA has been thought to impair renal function. Uncontrolled inflammation can affect the kidney's linings and cause atherosclerosis, in which plaque forms inside the renal arteries (the arteries of the kidneys). Then, the plaque hardens and narrows the arteries, lowering the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your kidneys and perhaps leading to kidney disease.
Another potential kidney concern for people with RA is amyloidosis, especially for people with long-standing and poorly controlled RA. Amyloidosis causes abnormal levels of the protein amyloid to build up in organs. In people with RA, the disease causes amyloid to build up in the kidneys.
According to a report from 2017, RA patients are more likely to develop glomerulonephritis. It is an inflammation of the glomeruli, which can damage kidney function and cause chronic kidney disease.
Heart problems can potentially contribute to the development of renal disease in RA patients. This is because people with RA typically experience high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases). Therefore, RA patients may have an increased risk of kidney disease due to obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Watch Out For Kidney Disease Warning Signs
In the early stages of kidney (renal) disease, most people experience no symptoms. This is because the kidneys are adaptive organs that can compensate for damage or loss of function. However, if the kidney disease has progressed, the following signs may appear:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Poor appetite
- Feeling tired or weak (fatigue)
- Swelling in your legs, feet, or ankles
- Frequent urination, particularly at night time
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Muscle cramps
- Persistent itching
- Puffy eyes
7 Ways To Protect Your Kidney From RA
Chronic kidney disease can worsen and eventually cause kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will require dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay healthy. Hence, it is essential to protect your kidneys. To keep your kidneys healthy, do the following:
1. Keep Control Of Your Ra Disease Activity
Controlling inflammation is one of the best effective ways to protect yourself from RA-related kidney damage. Your doctor will most likely prescribe DMARDs or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic medicines. DMARDs act to reduce RA inflammation. You may take over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or naproxen as an additional option.
2. Get A Regular Kidney Function Test
Regular blood and urine tests are performed to evaluate kidney function. Based on your general health and the advice of your doctor, testing should be done at least yearly once. Your doctor may conduct a blood test to check for waste product levels or collect a urine sample, which may reveal abnormalities that indicate chronic kidney disease.
3. Discuss Your Medications With Your Doctor
One key step in maintaining kidney function with RA is to get your Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosed and treated early with the appropriate medications rather than depending only on NSAIDs to control symptoms. Discuss with your doctor if you take any over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, or other prescriptions.
4. Manage Your Blood Pressure (BP)
Check your blood pressure regularly; it should remain in the 120–80 range. Because uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage kidney blood vessels. It limits their ability to clear your body's waste and extra fluid. Extra fluid in the blood vessels can cause raised blood pressure.
5. Eat Less Salt
When your kidneys are unhealthy, your body accumulates extra sodium and fluid, resulting in swelling or puffiness, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, or fluid around your heart and lungs. Skip foods with a lot of added salt, such as frozen food, canned soups, and fast food, to limit your salt intake. Limit processed meats, canned vegetables, and salty snacks as well.
6. Drink More Water
Water aids in removing waste from your blood through urine. It keeps blood vessels open which allows blood to travel to your kidneys. When you become dehydrated, the system stops working properly. So it is advised to drink more water. Some studies suggest that consuming more water may help protect against chronic kidney disease. Consume six to eight-ounce glasses of water every day.
7. Make Lifestyle Changes
Maintain a healthy body weight by exercising regularly and engaging in physical activities like walking or cycling. It supports maintaining healthy kidneys and other organ functions. Regular mild exercise can reduce blood pressure, control weight, and reduce inflammation. Avoid drinking alcohol, and stop smoking. Practice yoga to reduce your stress. You may prevent kidney issues by making these simple lifestyle modifications.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that will affect you for the rest of your life. Therefore, it is important to manage it correctly, so it does not cause major health issues like kidney disease. The above-mentioned simple lifestyle modifications can help protect your kidney from RA. And, if you're having difficulty controlling inflammation or other conditions, consult your doctor before these things worsen and enhance your quality of life.