A reader who
read a recent column about caring for our kidneys, writes:
“I did not realize that the kidneys provided so much to our
bodies. My granddaughter was born with 3 kidneys; by the time
she was two she had to have the two kidneys that were together
taken out because they were non-functioning. She is now 6 and
she has many (urinary tract infections) and gets sick easier
than other children. We have been having her drink water
all the time. What else can we do to help her body to function
properly with only one kidney?
— Jodi Z.
experts at the National Kidney Foundation (www.kidney.org) and
the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases (niddk.nih.gov), most people with one kidney live
healthy, normal lives with few problems. But when one kidney
must do the work of two, we need to protect it with a few
To help a lone kidney remove wastes from the blood, children
the age of your daughter need 6 to 7 cups of fluids a day. And
that includes liquids like milk and juice. Of course, her
pediatrician or dietitian may have more specific
recommendations for her particular health condition.
Eat a healthful
diet. I know, I know, what in the heck does that mean? It
means diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure can
seriously injure kidneys, so eating to avoid these problems is
especially important for people with just one of these
valuable organs. This is a perfect time to expose your
granddaughter to a dietary pattern that can help avoid these
problems as she gets older.
(Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, for example is
rich in fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy foods whose
nutrients work synergistically to maintain a normal blood
pressure. Your six-year old needs about 1 cup of fruit, 1.5
cups of vegetables and 2.5 cups of low fat milk or yogurt a
protein. To help her grow and fight infections, a typical 6
year-old needs about 3 ounces of meat, fish, eggs, peanut
butter, and other high protein foods each day. Too much
protein, however, could make her lone kidney work harder to
process the by-products of this nutrient.
Stay at a
healthy weight. Being overweight puts kids (and adults) at
risk for diabetes which can put extra strain on kidneys. Help
your granddaughter grow normally with resources such as
ChooseMyPlate for kids (www.choosemyplate.com/kids).
kidney! Although children should be encouraged to be
physically active, a single kidney may be more vulnerable to
injury. Some doctors advise their patients with a solitary
kidney to avoid contact sports such as football, boxing,
hockey, soccer, martial arts, or wrestling.
check ups. At least once a year, your granddaughter’s
pediatrician may want to check her blood pressure and run
simple blood and urine tests to make sure her kidney is doing