Get to know your kidneys
How to prevent and manage kidney disease
(Family Features) You may not think much about your kidneys unless there’s a problem, but they play a vital role in your health.
Your kidneys continually filter your blood to remove extra fluid and waste, which is released from the body as urine. They also help control blood pressure and keep bones healthy. Consider this information from Know Your Kidneys, an education campaign from the American Kidney Fund, Boehringer Ingelheim and Otsuka, to understand how your kidneys work, how to protect them and help prevent kidney disease, which has no cure.
What is kidney disease?
Kidney disease means your kidneys are permanently damaged and do not work as they should. This lets extra fluid and waste flow back into your bloodstream instead of leaving your body as urine.
An estimated 37 million Americans are living with kidney disease, and 1 in 3 adults is at risk for the disease, according to the American Kidney Fund. Kidney disease typically does not have any symptoms until the late stages, so most people do not know they have it.
Who is at risk?
Kidney disease doesn’t discriminate; people of all backgrounds get it. However, multiple barriers contribute to inequity in kidney care, including systemic racial and ethnic biases, language and cultural differences and where a person lives. These barriers make it more likely for certain people’s kidney disease to progress to kidney failure – the last stage of kidney disease. For example, Black Americans make up just 13% of the population, but they are 3.4 times more likely than white Americans to progress to kidney failure.
Other risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, hereditary causes or having a family history of the disease, being over the age of 60, obesity and smoking. Talking with your doctor about these risk factors is an important step toward managing your kidney health. Being tested for kidney disease if you are at risk can help detect early problems.
What are the symptoms?
In the later stages of kidney disease, you may have symptoms like foot swelling, nausea and fatigue. Other potential symptoms include itching, muscle cramps, changes in urine output, loss of appetite, trouble catching your breath and problems sleeping.
Regular blood and urine tests can help monitor your kidney health. Ask your doctor to check your kidney function, and if the tests reveal concerns, work together to create a plan.
What are the treatment options?
There is no cure for kidney disease, but you can take actions and medicines to manage your condition and possibly help prevent the disease from progressing to kidney failure. Depending on the specific cause of your kidney problems, your doctor may suggest controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol; eating healthy; quitting smoking; and being more physically active and maintaining a healthy weight. Medicines can also help control kidney disease for people with diabetes.
If kidney disease progresses to kidney failure, dialysis or a kidney transplant is required to survive.
How to advocate for kidney health
Dawn Edwards was just 23 when she developed kidney failure, reinforcing that kidney disease can affect anyone at any age. While Edwards juggles life with dialysis, she also regularly talks to newly diagnosed and high-risk patients.
“My advice is to learn as much as you can and have honest, frank discussions with your doctor,” Edwards said. “Learn about your treatment options, including the side effects of medications, and lifestyle changes that can manage your diabetes and high blood pressure and ultimately slow or stop the progression of kidney disease.”
For more information, visit KidneyFund.org/KnowYourKidneys.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
American Kidney Fund
Steps to help you take control of your asthma
(Family Features) Did you know that asthma affects 1 in 13 people in the United States (U.S.)? Asthma is a long-term condition that can make it harder for you to breathe because the airways of your lungs become inflamed and narrow. If you have the disease – or think you do – don’t tough it out. While there’s no cure for asthma, it can usually be managed by taking a few key steps that can help you live a full and active life.
Here are some important facts to know first:
- Asthma affects some communities more than others. Black people and American Indian/Alaska Native people have the highest asthma rates of any racial or ethnic group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, Black people are over 40% more likely to have asthma than white people.
- Asthma rates vary within some communities. For example, Puerto Rican Americans have twice the asthma rate of the overall U.S. Hispanic/Latino population.
- Some groups are more likely to have serious consequences from asthma. The CDC found Black people are almost four times more likelyto be hospitalized because of their asthma than white people.
- Almost twice as many women as men have asthma.
Talk to a health care provider. You can work with a health care provider to set up an asthma action plan. This plan explains how to manage your asthma, what medicines to take and when and what to do if your symptoms get worse. It also tells you what to do in an emergency.
Know and track your asthma symptoms. Are you experiencing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath? Tell a health care provider about them and make sure to keep track of any changes. That way you and the provider can know if your treatment plan is working.
Identify and manage your triggers. Some common asthma triggers include dust, mold, pollen, pests like cockroaches or rodents and pet hair. The asthma action plan can help you figure out what triggers make your asthma worse and how to manage them.
Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke, talk to a health care provider about ways to help you quit. If you have loved ones who smoke, ask them to quit. Do your best to avoid smoke in shared indoor spaces, including your home and car.
Asthma doesn’t have to stop you from leading a full and active life. Find out more about asthma and how to manage it from NHLBI’s Learn More Breathe Better® program at nhlbi.nih.gov/breathebetter.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Stress-free steps toward self-care
(Family Features) Over the last few years, self-care has taken on heightened importance for moms across the country.
That is why Mrs. T’s Pierogies is partnering with actress, entrepreneur and mom JoAnna Garcia Swisher for its “All-Star Moms” campaign to spotlight the importance of finding ways to recharge and help these real-life superheroes prioritize me-time.
Simplifying self-care for All-Star Moms everywhere can be as easy as designating a “recharging room” in the home, which offers a personal space to reset and relax. When creating your recharging room, keep these tips from Garcia Swisher in mind:
- Balance Beautiful with Functional: Find hosting staples like cutting boards, utensils and napkins that match the vibe of your personal space so the area can double as an entertaining space.
- Keep it Easy to Clean: Choose furniture and decor that can handle a little mess from snacks, like Mrs. T’s Mini Pierogies and your favorite dip, which are perfect for enjoying while binge-watching favorite shows.
- Add a Personal Touch: Showcase a piece that tells a story, like a favorite embroidered pillow, piece of meaningful jewelry or framed photo of an amazing memory.
- Bring In Something Cozy: Add cozy touches like a blanket, fluffy pillow or favorite slippers for something comfortable.
- Make a Statement: Let your inner designer shine by taking a chance on something bold that represents a part of your personality you don’t normally indulge.
- Plan an Anchor Piece: This item is the foundation for everything, such as a vintage armchair, comfy couch or storage piece that tells a story. Choose this item first then build around it.
Moms can also prioritize self-care by whipping up an easy-to-make recipe, like these Margherita Pizza Pierogy Skewers, for themselves, a gathering of friends or an afternoon family snack. Pasta pockets filled with creamy mashed potatoes, cheesy goodness and other big, bold flavors, Mrs. T’s Pierogies are simple to prepare. This means more time for moms to do the stuff they love like unwinding from the day with favorite foods in their recharging spaces.
Visit MrsTsPierogies.com for more recipe inspiration.
Margherita Pizza Pierogy Skewers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
- 1 box (12.8 ounces) Mrs. T’s Mini Classic Cheddar Pierogies
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing pierogies, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1-2 cups mozzarella balls (18 total)
- fresh basil leaves
- bamboo skewers (10 inches)
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
- salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat air fryer to 400 F.
- To make pizza skewers: In small bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt, ground black pepper and oregano; toss to coat. Transfer tomatoes to air fryer tray or basket. Cook in air fryer 10 minutes, or until tomatoes are slightly charred; remove and set aside.
- Lay pierogies on same tray or basket. Make sure not to overlap. Lightly brush each side with olive oil. Cook about 12 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Flip halfway through cooking.
- To make pesto: In food processor, process basil; garlic; olive oil; pine nuts; Parmesan cheese; salt, to taste; and pepper, to taste, until smooth. (If preferred, use store-bought pesto.)
- Add one pierogy to bamboo skewer followed by one tomato, one mozzarella ball and one basil leaf. Repeat with ingredients until each skewer is filled. Drizzle with pesto.
Mrs. T’s Pierogies
Dietitian-approved ways to add nutrition to your diet for sustained energy
(Family Features) Nutrition plays a key role in overall health and can positively affect everything from mood to energy levels. When thinking about ways to fuel busy days that will help you feel fuller, longer, look to clean, quality protein, which isn’t just good for muscle growth and repair but also plays an integral part in overall health.
In fact, protein helps keep bones strong, supports your immune system, fuels metabolism to sustain energy, curbs cravings, distributes nutrients throughout your body and more.
If you’re looking for ways to optimize your nutrition intake, it’s important to know the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the average person consume 10-35% of their daily calories from protein. Some changes like replacing cereal with protein-rich foods like eggs, snacking on healthy fats like nuts or fibrous veggies and fruits, or starting meals by eating the protein first can help set you on the right path.
In honor of National Nutrition Month, consider these bite-sized tips from nutrition expert Steph Grasso, a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), social media influencer and member of the Orgain Nutrition Advisory Board, to help incorporate more quality nutrition into your diet in convenient, delicious ways and keep you feeling fuller, longer:
- Choose nutritious, filling snacks. As part of your preparation for the week ahead, meal prep refrigerated snack containers featuring nuts, sliced cheese, veggies and a fun dip, like hummus. Grab-and-go fuel is imperative to creating balanced eating habits when life gets crazy. Another convenient solution, a high-quality nutrition shake can serve as a delicious option on jam-packed days.
- Maximize nutrition when enjoying sweets. If you have a sweet tooth, adding a scoop of high-quality protein powder to baked goods can be a simple way to sneak more protein into your diet. For example, Grasso recommends adding unsweetened Orgain Plant-based protein powder to these High-Protein Pumpkin Pancakes. With 21 grams of vegan protein and an excellent source of iron with 6 milligrams per serving, organic protein powder is non-GMO and made without added sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Have frozen veggies on hand. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious and delicious as their fresh counterparts and often more affordable and convenient. They are typically picked and frozen at the peak of ripeness when they are most nutrient-dense. They are prepped and ready to go, making meal preparation fast and easy. An ideal accompaniment to your choice of protein and grain, this Frozen Veggie Side Dish includes Greek yogurt and cheese for an added protein punch.
Find more tips and protein-packed recipes at Orgain.com.
High-Protein Pumpkin Pancakes
Recipe courtesy of Steph Grasso on behalf of Orgain
- 2 cups oats
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1/3 cup pumpkin
- 2 scoops Orgain unsweetened plant-based protein powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- nonstick cooking spray
- berries, for topping (optional)
- bananas, for topping (optional)
- nut butter, for topping (optional)
- syrup, for topping (optional)
- In bowl, use blender to blend oats, cottage cheese, pumpkin, protein powder, vanilla and egg whites.
- Spray pan over medium heat with nonstick cooking spray.
- Use 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop batter into hot pan one scoop at a time.
- Flip pancake once pan-side is lightly browned. Remove from pan once both sides are cooked. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Stack pancakes and top with berries, bananas, nut butter and syrup, if desired.
Frozen Veggie Side Dish
Recipe courtesy of Steph Grasso on behalf of Orgain
- 1/2 bag (14 ounces) frozen white pearl onions
- 1 box (8 ounces) frozen quartered artichoke hearts
- 1 box (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup frozen sweet peas
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
- 1/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Prepare frozen white pearl onions, artichoke hearts and spinach according to package instructions.
- In pan over medium heat, saute onions and artichoke hearts until tender. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add spinach, frozen sweet peas, heavy whipping cream, Greek yogurt and Parmesan cheese. Mix until cheese is melted, and peas are soft.
- Serve with protein and grain of choice, if desired.
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