By: Julie Baudo, RDN, CDCES, CDN
Registered Dietitian

Our kidneys play a vital role in protecting our overall health. These bean-shaped organs perform many essential functions, including filtering blood, regulating fluid and blood pressure, activating vitamin D for healthy bones, removing waste products from the blood, and helping make red blood cells. A fun fact about these amazing organs is that they filter about 200 gallons of blood daily to create 1-2 quarts of urine!  When the kidneys are not working well, they don't filter blood properly, which means harmful substances can accumulate in the blood. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 15% of adults have chronic kidney disease (CKD), or roughly 37 million people, and many don't realize they have it. The leading causes of kidney disease are high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Common symptoms of kidney disease include swelling of hands, face and feet, foamy urine, puffy eyes, increased thirst, and fatigue. The good news is that changing our lifestyle can prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease.

Dietary changes can greatly impact kidney health, giving you the power to protect your kidneys. See below for some important and easy ways to help maintain kidney health.

1. Reduce sodium. Eat less salty snacks, limit convenience foods and prepare more homemade meals.

2. Incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet. Diets high in animal proteins from red meat may harm the kidneys. Plant-based foods like dried beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, and vegetables can protect your kidneys and provide excellent nutrition and fiber.

3. Drink more water! Proper hydration keeps your kidneys working efficiently. Sugary drinks like specialty coffees and energy drinks are both high in calories and sugar, so make water your main drink of choice.

4. Consider following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. The diet is designed to help lower blood pressure. It is rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, fish, and poultry. In addition, the diet is low in salt, added sugars, and red meats.

A  registered dietitian, your trusted guide, can help develop an eating and exercise plan that considers individual food preferences, lifestyle, level of physical activity and special needs to help accomplish disease management goals. The dietitian's goal for their patients is to enhance their quality of life while protecting their kidney function. Discuss this with your physician and ask for a referral!



March is Nutritional Month

By: Maria Manunta, MS, RDN, CDCES, CDN, CHC
Registered Dietitian / Nutritionist

As March unfolds, we enthusiastically welcome National Nutrition Month, a time dedicated to savoring the joy of mindful eating and its profound impact on our health. This year, the theme for National Nutrition Month is "Beyond the Table," inviting us to explore the broader impact of our dietary choices on our well-being and the world around us. This annual celebration is not just about learning but also about embracing healthier lifestyles with a sense of excitement. Let's unite to celebrate the beauty of nourishing our bodies, minds, and souls through good nutrition.

The theme invites us to reflect on how our nutritional decisions affect our health and have broader implications for the environment, sustainability, and community well-being.

Celebrating Nutrition Month is an invitation to savor the joy of eating well. It explores the vibrant colors, flavors, and textures that wholesome foods bring to our plates. By choosing nourishing options, we fuel our bodies and embark on a journey of self-care and liveliness.

"Beyond the Table" encourages us to appreciate the diversity of diets worldwide. Whether exploring plant-based cuisines, traditional recipes passed down through generations, or the latest culinary trends, this month provides an excellent opportunity to broaden our culinary horizons and discover the richness of global nutrition.

Nutrition is a journey we all share, and this month is a perfect time to strengthen the bonds within our community. We invite everyone to participate in events promoting healthy living, such as group fitness activities, community cooking classes, and friendly nutritional challenges. Together, we can create a supportive environment that fosters positive habits and a sense of belonging.

As we celebrate Nutrition Month, let's empower ourselves with positive and achievable intentions for our well-being. Whether incorporating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, or being mindful of portion sizes, these small changes can significantly improve our health and vitality. By setting realistic goals, we pave the way for sustainable habits and feel motivated to continue our journey beyond this month-long celebration.

Through a collaborative approach, individuals can work with healthcare professionals to develop personalized nutritional plans that align with their health goals. Together, let us embrace the power of nutritional wellness to enrich our lives and navigate toward a healthier, happier future.

Celebrating Nutrition Month is a collective acknowledgment of the profound impact that conscious eating has on our lives. It reminds us that every meal is an opportunity to nourish our bodies, support our health, and indulge in the pleasure of good food. Let's embark on this journey together, celebrating the art of nourishing lives and fostering a culture of well-being extending far beyond March. Here's to a month of joyful, mindful, and delicious celebrations of nutrition!

Strong Woman with text POP is not life-threatening, but it can be life-altering

According to the National Association for Continence, approximately 200,000 women in the United States undergo surgeries for pelvic organ prolapse (POP). 

POP is a herniation (protrusion) of the pelvic organs to or through the vaginal opening. A woman’s pelvic organs, which include the bladder, uterus, and rectum, are supported by a complex “hammock” of muscles and ligaments that attach to the bony anatomy of the pelvis. When these are weakened, those organs can drop. The history of POP dates back to 2000 BC, and was commonly associated with the physical trauma of vaginal childbirth. In addition to childbirth, risk factors also include a family history of POP, obesity, advancing age, menopause, prior hysterectomy, and conditions that result in ongoing elevation of intra-abdominal pressure, such as chronic coughing due to smoking or asthma, or constipation.

Some women have symptoms associated with pelvic organ prolapse, and some do not. Usually, a woman starts having symptoms if the protrusion extends to or beyond the vaginal opening. 

POP is not life-threatening, but it can be life-altering, significantly affecting a women’s life quality. Women who experience symptoms of POP describe a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the vagina, painful intercourse, problems with urination, constipation, and urinary or stool incontinence. Frequently, women feel an increase in pressure after a long day of standing or following physical exercise. In severe cases, women describe constantly feeling a “ball” or “bulging” from the vagina.There are different forms of POP. Weakness at the front of the vaginal wall near the bladder can cause a cystocele (dropped bladder). A weak spot in the vaginal ceiling causes uterine prolapse. A defect at the backside vaginal wall, near the rectum results in a rectocele. Very often, several areas are involved. Determining the exact location of the problem is important in identifying the best course of treatment. 

The good news is that we have several options for caring for patients with pelvic organ prolapse. Conservative management include pelvic floor strengthening through exercise and pessaries. A pessary is special device placed vaginally to provide organ support. It should be comfortable, but requires upkeep, removal, and cleaning on a regular basis. A local vaginal estrogen is often prescribed along with using a pessary.

Pelvic reconstructive surgery is another option for correcting the anatomy and restoring bowel, bladder, and vaginal functions. Using a minimally invasive approach, the surgery typically achieves positive long-term results. It can be performed vaginally, laparoscopically, or robotically as a same day or overnight stay procedure. Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be performed as a part of pelvic reconstructive surgery, but is not always required.

Dr. Armen Kirakosyan, a board-certified urogynecologist with General Physician PC, cares for patients using the most advanced surgical procedures and technologies. This includes minimally invasive gynecology, advanced laparoscopy, single port laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery. To make an appointment to see Dr. Kirakosyan, call 716-656-4077. Learn more at

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