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Is drinking coffee/caffeine bad for your kidneys?

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This is a question that often comes up when I see patients in my office for treatment of chronic kidney disease ( CKD ). As always, I tend to emphasize the huge role that diet plays in the management of CKD. I noticed that my recent posts might be becoming too wordy, so I am going to keep myself very brief today!

How do physicians check your kidneys' function?

Most people know that getting a stress test is a way to test your heart's function. But how do you test your kidney function? You might have heard doctors mention words like "creatinine", or "GFR" when checking how good or bad your kidneys are doing. Although there are a lot of methods by which the kidneys' performance can be measured, I will explain the ones that are used most often in clinical setting

The effect of artificially sweetened soft drinks/colas on kidney and cardiovascular function: Are diet sodas as harmless as they appear?

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Most of us, even the fitness freaks, feel good about consuming diet soda...that harmless, calorie-free, sugar-free indulgence. What could ever be wrong about a can of zero calorie, carbonated, flavored water?! Possibly a lot, it seems. The potential for harm stems from the various ingredients that go in to conjuring your favorite diet soft drink. Lets break down a typical artificially sweetened beverage (diet soda) in to its bare ingredients that are pertinent for this discussion : artificial sweeteners, caffeine, caramel color, and phosphoric acid.

Diet for patients with kidney disease: A little sweet, a little salty, and what to eat more/less of?

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You are what you eat. Your kidneys are no different. Diet and lifestyle have a huge influence on the development of kidney disease, as well its rate of progression once it develops. Hence, in my practice, and especially in patients with early stage chronic kidney disease (CKD)  or  stage 3/early stage 4 ,  I place a strong focus on diet (in addition to treating the cause of CKD) which may sometimes go a long way in preventing disease progression. This does not mean that the right diet is not important in advanced stages of CKD. It very well is; however, you will probably need more aggressive medical management in those stages. I have emphasized before that, like many other things in life, prevention is not only better than cure, it is much much easier too. Once GFR (glomerular filtration rate, a measure of your kidney function) permanently declines, it is unlikely that it will increase. Hence GFR decline is often a " one way highway ".

How does kidney disease affect your sexual health and reproductive function? What are your treatment options?

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Kidney disease has a profound effect on sexual health, fertility, the ability to conceive, etc. I will cover the issues related to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and pregnancy in my next post . For today, lets try and understand how and why a reduction in your kidney function could affect your sexual health. Sexual dysfunction does tend to worsen as kidney disease progresses, and is part of the constellation of various signs and symptoms of advanced kidney disease .