10 Habits That Can Harm Your Kidneys
Kidneys are a pair of small, kidney bean-shaped organs located on each side of the spinal cord. The main function of kidneys is to filter waste and excess fluids by producing urine to maintain the levels of electrolytes and fluid balance in the body. Kidney health is vital for the proper functioning of the body.
When kidneys stop functioning properly due to damage or a disease, it can lead to accumulation of toxins in the body that should have been excreted out. Accumulation of these fluids and toxins may lead to a condition called kidney failure.
When this failure is severe, it is called end stage renal disease. These patients need dialysis in which a machine performs the function of kidneys by filtering out the toxins from the blood.
The toxin-free blood is directed back into the body. Some patients may need a kidney transplant, an operation in which a new healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor is placed into the recipient’s body.
It is a life-saving procedure, but also a major operation that has some risks. The best kidney specialist in India are known for their success rate and expertise in the procedure. They try to limit the complications and provide exceptional post-operative care to transplant patients.
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The key point is that one must maintain a good kidney health. There are certain habits and lifestyle changes that may cause damage to the kidneys. It is best to know and avoid them to prevent any severe kidney damage.
Here are ten kidney damaging habits:
- Overuse of pain medications
Over the counter pain medicines, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – also known as NSAIDs may provide relief from aches and pains, but they can also harm the kidneys, particularly when the person is already suffering from a kidney disease. It is advisable to reduce the regular use of NSAIDs and other OTC drugs, and never go beyond the recommended dosage.
- Too much salt in food
High salt and sodium diets should generally be avoided by heart and kidney patients. This is because they can increase blood pressure and harm the kidneys. Instead of salt, flavor the foods with herbs and spices or limit the amount of salt in food.
- Not Drinking adequate amount of water
Low water intake is considered one of the major reasons for the development of kidney stones and other kidney conditions. Dehydration can cause certain kidney diseases. So, one must consume adequate amount of water as it helps kidneys excrete sodium and toxins from the body. Usually, 2-3 liters of water or fluids is recommended for consumption per day. It helps prevent kidney stones and other damages to kidneys. However, people with kidney problems or kidney failure may need to restrict their fluid consumption. But most people should drink 1.5 to 2 liters (3 to 4 pints) of water per day for a healthy kidney.
- Limiting Processed Foods
Processed foods contain high amounts of sodium and phosphorus. People with kidney disease are also advised to limit phosphorus in their diets. High phosphorus in processed foods has been shown to have harmful effects on the kidneys and bones of people without kidney disease.
- Inadequate Sleep
Proper sleep and rest is important for overall well-being, but it is also beneficial to the kidneys. The sleep-wake cycle also influence the regulation of kidney function and helps coordinate the kidneys’ workload over day and night.
- Eating Too Many Foods High in Sugar
High sugar diet can cause several health issues. It is a major contributor to obesity which increases the risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes. These are the two leading causes of kidney disease. Also, sugar is also added to foods and drinks that are generally not consider “sweet”, so it is better to avoid condiments, breakfast cereals, and white bread as they are the sources of processed sugar. Read the ingredients while buying packaged food items in order to avoid added sugar in the diet.
- Too Much Meat
Animal protein may lead to production of high amounts of acid in the blood that can cause harm to the kidneys. It causes a condition called acidosis, in which kidneys are not able to eliminate acid fast enough from the blood. Protein is important for the body as it is needed for growth and repair, but it should be taken in balance with fruits and vegetables.
Smoking has many harmful effects on the body. In addition to lungs and heart, it is also not good for kidneys. People who smoke have more chances of having protein in the urine which is a sign of kidney damage.
- Excess Alcohol consumption
Regular heavy drinking, which is more than four drinks a day, has been linked to an increased risk of chronic kidney disease. People who are heavy drinkers and also smoke have an even higher risk of developing kidney problems.
- Inactive lifestyle
Sedentary lifestyle is becoming a major concern. Some studies have linked sitting for long periods of time to the development of kidney disease. Researchers are still trying to find why or how sedentary time or physical activity directly impact kidney health. However, being physical active is associated with improved blood pressure and better glucose metabolism, which contributes to good kidney health.