The primary function of the kidneys is to filter waste from the blood and allow you to expel it from your body in the form of urine. Therefore, healthy kidneys are essential to a healthy body. Its functions also involve regulating the minerals of the body and producing hormones which keep the blood pressure down and helps in producing red blood cells. On the other hand, there are regular habits that may damage the kidneys.
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Symptoms of kidney problems involve coldness and fatigue, itchy skin, changes in your urine, dizziness, and nausea, and bad breath. But did you know that before any of these symptoms appear, you can already be causing serious harm to your kidneys? That’s why it’s important for us to be aware on how to maintain a healthy kidney.
KEY HABITS TO KEEP IN MIND:
1. Not drinking enough water.In order for the kidneys to process and expel waste and toxins from the body, enough water is needed. Once you’re dehydrated, the blood becomes more concentrated and flows less through your kidneys. In order for you to know if you’re getting enough water – your urine should be light yellow.
2. Drinking diet soda.Drinking diet soda brings danger to your health as well as damages your kidneys. According to a study involving over 3,000 women, there is a link between diet soda and kidney problems – those women who drank two or more sodas a day had up to a 30% decline in their kidney functions.
3. Too much salt.A diet rich in sodium can increase the rate of damage done to your kidneys, as well as can raise your blood pressure. Additionally, the risk of kidney stones also increases, which can cause pain, nausea, and trouble in urinating.
4. Too much alcohol.It’s okay to drink in moderation if your kidneys are healthy. But too much drinking has been shown to double the risk of kidney disease. "Acute kidney injury" can be caused by even a single binge session. And if you smoke as well? Bad news...
5. SmokingYou are likely five times likely to develop chronic kidney disease if you are a heavy drinker who smokes. Smoking worsens Type 2 Diabetes and blood pressure and slows down the flow of blood to the kidneys.
To summarize it all, smoking interferes with any medication you are taking to alleviate diabetes and high blood pressure, all resulting in increased damage to your kidneys.
6. Eating too much meat.Protein, balanced out with plenty fresh fruits and vegetables, is important in a healthy diet. But according to The Kidney Foundation, the protein derived from meat causes acidosis. It creates a lot of acid in the blood wherein your kidneys can’t get rid of it fast enough.
7. Overusing painkillers.Nowadays, the most commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include aspirin, Advil, and ibuprofen. They are safe if taken in moderation but regular overuse of these result may result in kidney damage and total kidney failure.
8. Working out to excess.It is not advisable to have a major increase in your strength training at the gym. It can break down too fast those damaged tissues you have, dumping waste into your blood that harms your kidneys. If you considerably increased your training and have both muscle pain and dark urine (despite being well hydrated) you should see your doctor.
9. Eating processed foods.Processed foods are high in both phosphorus and sodium. High intake of phosphorus, as well as sodium, is harmful to both bones and kidneys. One should limit phosphorus intake if they already have kidney damage.
It’s important that we look after our kidneys, though these habits are common in the modern lifestyle. Be fit and active, maintain a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, cut down on alcohol and cigarettes and only take over-the-counter medications when really necessary. Always be aware of the consequences so that we are better equipped to make healthy choices.