Highlights from the December issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter: Keeping Kidneys Healthy; When Broken Bones Don’t Heal

ROCHESTER, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Here are highlights from the December issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Reprinting is allowed for a fee. Mayo Clinic Health Letter attribution is required. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Visit www.HealthLetter.MayoClinic.com or call toll-free for subscription information, 1-800-333-9037, extension 9771 (from the U.S. or Canada).

Tips to Keep Kidneys Working

ROCHESTER, Minnesota -- Healthy kidneys aren’t a given. The December issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers risk factors for kidney disease and ways to keep kidneys doing their important work of filtering waste and excess fluids from the body.

Several factors increase the risk of kidney disease. Some can’t be controlled, such as being older than age 65, a family history of kidney disease, or being black, Native American or Asian-American. Other factors can be addressed with treatment or lifestyle changes. Those factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, smoking, obesity and high cholesterol.

It’s wise to talk with a physician about risk factors. The doctor may recommend simple testing, including blood pressure measurement and blood and urine tests to see how the kidneys are working. Kidney failure, when detected early, can be slowed or even halted with lifestyle changes and treatment for underlying health conditions.

The Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers these tips to keep kidneys working:

Carefully managing diabetes: Diabetes is the most common cause of chronic kidney disease. Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels damage kidneys.

Controlling hypertension: Hypertension can cause chronic kidney disease. Or, high blood pressure can result from chronic kidney disease. Either way, the closer blood pressure is to its target range, the better for kidneys. Hypertension damages the kidneys’ small blood vessels, so the kidneys don’t work as effectively.

Daily physical activity, heart-healthy eating, and losing weight if needed all can help control blood pressure. Medications may be needed, too.

Avoiding use of large amounts of pain relievers: Kidney damage may be caused by long-term use of various pain relievers in large amounts. They include aspirin; acetaminophen (Tylenol, others); ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others); naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, others) and the COX-2 inhibitor colecoxib (Celebrex).

Eating for kidney health: Limiting the amount of sodium and potassium in the diet may help maintain kidney health. A dietitian can discuss these and other changes that help maintain a healthy diet and slow kidney disease.

Not smoking: Smoking makes kidney disease worse.

When Broken Bones Don’t Heal: Promoting Bone Growth

ROCHESTER, Minnesota -- Broken bones don’t always heal as expected. The December issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers what hampers bone healing and extra steps that can be taken to stimulate bone growth.

A bone break that hasn’t healed after six to nine months is called a nonunion fracture. Several factors can contribute to nonunion fractures. One reason can be inadequate stabilization, where the cast, plates or screws allowed the fractured bones to move. Inadequate blood supply also is a concern. Trauma near the fracture site may have damaged blood vessels and impeded blood circulation, which is critical for bone growth. Some bones, such as the upper thighbone or the small wrist bone, normally have a less robust blood supply. Infection at the fracture site, the use of nicotine, inadequate nutrition, health problems including anemia or diabetes, and some medications all can interfere with bone healing.

Several treatment options are available to spur bone growth.

  • Ultrasound waves: Some patients benefit from a small device that pulses ultrasound or electromagnetic waves to stimulate healing. The device is strapped over the fracture site for 20 minutes or more, one to two times a day.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be needed to modify the screws or plates that supported the fracture. A bone graft may be considered as well. A small piece of healthy bone and marrow is taken from elsewhere in the body, usually the upper pelvis. The healthy bone is placed at the fracture ends. Bone grafting is considered the gold standard for treatment of nonunion fractures. But, removing healthy bone is painful and may result in complications.
  • Bone morphogenic protein (BMP): BMP is a naturally occurring chemical in the bone that stimulates bone healing. As a medication, BMP is placed on a piece of collagen mesh that is implanted over the fracture ends. More study is needed to compare the effectiveness of this treatment with a bone graft.

Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of reliable, accurate and practical information on today’s health and medical news. To subscribe, please call 1-800-333-9037, extension 9771 (from the U.S. or Canada), or visit www.HealthLetter.MayoClinic.com.



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