Ignorance is bliss. But not when your kidneys are at stake. Let’s look at 15 mistakes we may be making to endanger the health of our kidneys. But before that, lets take a brief look at why we need our kidneys functioning normally. The primary function of our kidneys is to detoxify our blood and to filter out waste products through our urine. Kidneys also regulate the amount of water that our body needs. Other than these two key functions, they also regulate the amount of important minerals in the body and produce certain hormones that help regulate blood pressure and help the RBCs carry oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. Having looked at the crucial role kidneys play in our body, let’s now look at how we may be inadvertently harming our kidneys.
1. Taking Too Many Painkillers
OTC pain killers like NSAIDs that are used for aches and pains cause a lot of harm to the kidneys, especially if you already have kidney disease. It’s important to reduce regular use of these medicines and never go beyond the recommended dosage.
2. Adding Too Much Salt To Your Food
High salt foods are rich in sodium, a chemical that increases blood pressure and harms the kidneys. It is a good idea to flavor your foods with herbs and spices instead of excessive salt. Excessive salt intake also increases the amount of urinary protein, which damages the kidneys. The recommended dose of salt per day is 5 grams, which is about 1 teaspoon. Anything more than this is harmful to the kidneys.
3. Processed Foods
Processed foods contain large amounts of sodium and phosphorus which are very harmful to the kidneys and bones. Also, people with kidney disease need to go easy on these.
4. Not Drinking Enough Water
The main function of kidneys is to flush out metabolic waste from the body. When the body lacks water, the blood flow to the kidneys is less, which makes the blood concentrated. This hampers the kidneys’ ability to flush out the toxins from the body. This doesn’t just damage the kidneys, but the excessive toxins in the blood which don’t get eliminated cause further health issues.
5. Sleep Deficit
Getting enough sleep is extremely vital for good health. Healthy kidney function has also been linked to sleep-wake cycles, with a lack of sleep increasing the pressure on kidney function.
6. Consuming Too Much Meat
Consuming high amounts of animal proteins produces large amounts of acid in the blood and this can lead to a condition called acidosis, a condition when kidneys aren’t able to eliminate the acid fast enough. This increases the risk of developing kidney disease.
7. Eating Sugary Foods Often
Consuming foods rich in sugar leads to obesity which increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, two leading causes of kidney disease.
Smoking leads to an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. It also narrows the blood vessels in the kidneys and reduces the blood flow to them thereby damaging the kidneys and worsening an existing kidney disease.
9. Too Much Alcohol
Consuming alcohol in large amounts regularly has been linked with the risk of chronic kidney disease. Drinking alcohol in excess causes uric acid to be deposited in renal tubules causing obstruction. This raises the risk of kidney failure. Also, the dehydration caused by alcohol consumption affects the normal functioning of kidneys. Drinking in moderation is considered safe on the kidneys, which means 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women and seniors.
10. Sitting For Long Periods Of Time
A sedentary lifestyle and sitting in one place for a long time is now being associated with developing kidney disease. Although the exact science behind this isn’t known, researchers are suggesting that an active lifestyle improves blood pressure and glucose metabolism, and keep the kidneys healthy.
11. Not Voiding Your Bladder Often
Sitting with a full bladder and avoiding urination for long periods of time causes damage to the kidneys. A full bladder causes bacteria to breed in the urine and cause urinary tract infection. Also, holding urine for long periods of time increases the pressure on the kidneys and may lead to renal failure and incontinence.
12. Too Much Caffeine
Too much caffeine in the system causes high blood pressure which puts a strain on the kidneys. And over a course of time, this can damage the kidneys. It can also result in kidney stones as caffeine increases calcium excretion in urine. Having caffeine in moderation doesn’t pose any health risk.