The kidneys have numerous important functions in the body. They detoxify the blood and help the body to get rid of waste through urine. The kidneys are also responsible for the removing of excess water from the body or retaining when the body needs more liquids. Another primary function of the kidneys is the regulation of the levels of essential minerals such as calcium and phosphate. Moreover, kidneys also help maintain normal blood pressure because they produce hormones which are needed for this function.
Therefore, in order to stay healthy, your kidneys must function at their optimum capacity. Some of the early signs which suggest that you may have kidney problems include vomiting, breathing difficulties, frequent changes in the quantity and the color of the urine, constant fatigue, bad breath, anemia, and sudden pain. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, visit you doctor immediately to rule out the possibility of kidney disease.
Probably the biggest causes of kidney damage are the unhealthy habits that many people have. Here is a list of 10 common habits that can lead to improper kidney function.
Delaying the Urge to Urinate
This is one of the main reasons for kidney damage. If you don’t urinate on time, the urine will stay in the bladder for a longer period, causing multiplying of bacteria in the urine. These harmful bacteria can cause infections to the kidneys or the urinary tract. Retaining the urine can lead to urinary incontinence and renal insufficiency because it puts a lot the pressure on the kidneys. Therefore, if you are one of those who have a habit to delay the urge to urinate, it is time to change that before it’s too late.
Insufficient Water Intake
If you don’t drink enough water, your blood will become concentrated, which will cause less blood flow to the kidneys. This significantly reduces the ability of kidneys to remove toxins and can lead to severe health problems.
According to National Kidney Foundation, you should drink at least 12 glasses of water a day to be hydrated and you and maintain kidney health.
High Consumption of Salt
Regular consumption of high amounts of salt will not only damage your kidneys, but it can also cause many other health problems as well. The kidneys metabolize about 95 percent of the salt which comes from food.
When our intake of salt is high, our kidneys will need to work harder in order to remove the excess amount. This can reduce the kidney function, leading to water retention in the body. As you probably know, water retention increases of high blood pressure and the risk of kidney diseases.
Some recent studies have also found that salt consumption raises the amount of urinary protein, which is another factor that increases the risk of kidney disease. According to most experts, every amount higher than 5 grams a day can cause severe harm to the kidneys as well as your overall health. It is good to know only one teaspoon of salt is about six grams.
Regular Use of Analgesics
Many people regularly use analgesics, or over-the-counter painkillers, to reduce inflammation or fever, and to control pain. However, this habit can be very harmful to the kidneys, and for the other organs as well.
One study has shown that over-the-counter analgesics significantly reduce the blood flow to the kidneys, causing improper kidney function. Moreover, it is very likely that long-term use of analgesics will also cause chronic kidney disease.
High Protein Diet
Excessive consumption of high-protein foods such as red meat greatly increases the risk of kidney disease.
One of the main roles of the kidneys is to metabolize and remove nitrogenous wastes from the body, which are by-products of the protein digestion. High intake of protein raises the glomerular pressure and hyperfiltration, which significantly increases the metabolic load of kidneys. This lead to higher risk of kidney issues.
For that reason, one of the best things you can do for your kidneys is to reduce the intake of red meat. People who already have kidney problems should stop eating red meat immediately since it can worsen their problem.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is a toxin that can cause severe damage to the liver and the kidneys. If you drink too much alcohol, the uric acid will be stored in the renal tubules, leading to a tubular obstruction which increases the risk of renal insufficiency. Moreover, regular consumption of alcohol can also cause dehydration.
Healthy amounts of alcohol consumption daily are 2 drinks for men, and one drink for women and older people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is harmful to every organ in the body.
The connection between smoking and kidney disease has been documented by many studies in the last few decades. For example, smoking is the biggest cause of ESRD (end-stage renal disease) according to the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP). This unhealthy habit also increases blood pressure and heart rate and reduces the blood flow to the kidneys. Smoking can also worsen existing kidney disease and accelerate the loss of kidney functions.
Consuming Too Much Caffeine
Regular consumption of too much caffeine increases the blood pressure, leading to kidney overload. It can also cause severe kidney damage over time. A study published by Kidney International in 2002 study has shown that high consumption of caffeine can lead to kidney stones. Moreover, caffeine can also increase the excretion of calcium in the urine.
But despite all these facts, most experts agree that caffeine won’t cause any harm when consumed in moderate amounts (1 cup of coffee a day). Also, it is important to limit the consumption of other caffeine sources such as cocoa, soft drink, energy drinks, and chocolate.
Ignoring Common Infections
If you don’t treat common infections like coughs, colds, flu, tonsillitis, and pharyngitis, the bacteria and viruses can cause kidney damage. Therefore, whenever you get an infection, it is of utmost importance to treat it properly and on time.
Lack of Sleep
Most people are not sleeping properly because of their busy lifestyle. Healthy sleep habits are very important because the organ tissues renew during sleeping. This process will be interrupted if you don’t sleep enough, causing damage to many organs, including the kidneys. Some recent studies have also shown that sleepless nights can cause high blood pressure and clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), which significantly increases the risk of kidney diseases.
It is recommended to sleep 6 to 8 hour a day in order to protect your kidneys, as well as your overall health.
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