Kidney failure is one of the popular health problems we face as humans in this part of the world.
So, this post is to educate us on some of our harmful lifestyle and things we may be doing that are unknowingly damaging our kidneys.
Before we go into the main purpose of the post, let’s know some facts about the human kidney.
What are the Kidneys?
The kidneys play key roles in body function, not only by filtering the blood and getting rid of waste products, but also by balancing the electrolyte levels in the body, controlling blood pressure, and stimulating the production of red blood cells.
Where are they located?
The kidneys are located in the abdomen toward the back, normally one on each side of the spine.
They get their blood supply through the renal arteries directly from the aorta and send blood back to the heart via the renal veins to the vena cava.
What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease refers to conditions and problems with the kidneys and their function.
Because of all of the vital functions the kidneys perform and the toxins they encounter, the kidneys are susceptible to various problems.
Some of these conditions include:
- Acute nephritis
- Chronic kidney disease
- Kidney cysts
- Kidney failure
- Kidney stones
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Urinary tract infections
What are the Symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease may vary depending upon the type; however, common non-specific symptoms of chronic kidney disease include:
- Blood in urine
- Dry, itchy skin
- Foamy urine
- Foot or ankle swelling
- Inability to concentrate
- Increased or decreased urination
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle cramps
- Problems sleeping
- Puffiness around the eyes
- Reduced appetite
- Trouble sleeping
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.
Depending on your symptoms, they may do some kidney function tests to make a diagnosis.
9 Ways You Maybe Harming Your Kidney
The kidneys are important organs that affect many other body parts, including the heart.
So, avoid these bad habits to keep them working efficiently.
1. Excess Salt Intake
Some of us are guilty of this, which is very bad.
Eating a lot of salty foods can disrupt the balance of minerals in the blood which can also lead to poor kidney functioning and increased water retention.
Also, try swapping out processed foods which usually have a lot of added salt for whole foods, such as:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Lean cuts of meat
2. Excess Sugar Intake
Aside salt, sugar is also another enemy of your kidney because it can lead to decreased kidney functioning.
Eating too many foods high in sugar contributes to obesity which increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, two of the leading causes of kidney disease.
So, avoid sugary drinks and snacks to keep your kidney healthy.
3. Holding Your Urine
Holding your urine is not quite harmful to your health, but when you don’t always empty your bladder when you’re pressed or make it a habit, that’s when it becomes a serious problem.
When we hold our urine by contracting the sphincter against an already strained bladder, the bladder wall can thicken and break down the normal one-way mechanism of urine flow from the kidneys into the bladder.
This can increase the risk of infection and lead to long-term kidney and bladder issues.
Drinking plenty of water helps the kidneys perform one of their most important functions: removing toxins.
Passing out urine is a way of removing toxins from your body and you need enough water to achieve this.
So, ensure to always stay hydrated.
5. You Don’t Exercise
High blood pressure is a known risk factor for chronic kidney disease.
So, exercising regularly, even for just 20 minutes a day, can help reduce blood pressure.
6. Too Much Protein Consumption
Eat protein rich foods is good, but having it too much can cause waste to build up in your blood.
Your kidneys may not be able to remove all the extra waste.
So, it is important to eat the right amount of protein each day.
Those on diet have to take note of this.
7. Often Taking Pain Medications
Regularly taking certain over-the-counter medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can cause kidney damage over time.
Occasionally taking them is fine, but when used improperly, pain medicines can cause problems in the body, including the kidneys.
You can work with your doctor to find alternatives if you have a condition that requires managing pain, such as arthritis.
Smoking is bad for your health, including your organs such as your kidneys.
Smoking can seriously harm the kidneys in a number of ways.
It can increase your risk of developing some kidney cancers, damage your heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular system) leading to poor blood flow to the kidneys and causing kidney damage over time.
9. You’re an Alcoholic
Regularly drinking too much can also damage the kidneys.
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to gastritis, which causes the lining of the stomach to become inflamed or swollen.
Though this isn’t directly related to the kidneys, the pain may be felt in the upper abdomen and associated with kidney pain.
So, moderation here is key.
As we age, the kidney function gradually decreases over time.
Several things can increase your risk of developing a kidney condition, and treatment of the underlying disease may be the first step in correcting the kidney abnormality.
Make sure you regularly have your kidney function tested if you have diabetes, are obese, have high blood pressure or have a family history of kidney disease.
If the kidneys fail completely, the only treatment options available may be dialysis or transplant.
I hope you find this information helpful.
Stay safe and remember “Health is Wealth”.
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