From not drinking enough water to too much sugar, we might not even know that these simple habits could be affecting our kidneys.
Caring for our kidneys is crucial since it acts like the filtration system of the body. It takes out the waste, excess fluids, and toxins from our blood, which are then removed with urine. A normally functioning human body has two kidneys located on either side of the spine at the lowest level of the rib cage. Each kidney contains up to a million functioning units called nephrons which consists of a filtering unit of tiny blood vessels. Since kidneys are the filtration system of our body, keeping it in good condition is imperative.
We might be contributing towards harming our kidneys unknowingly with some common habits. While there are some practices that are generally understood as bad for our health, there are others like adding extra salt to our food we might not even be aware of.
However, if we are making some of these lifestyle choices mentioned below they can contribute towards the build-up of dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes in our body.
Here are six things that could affect our kidney's health:
Excess sugar can lead to multiple health issues like diabetes and obesity, both risk factors for kidney disease, said Dr. Leslie Spry, spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation wrote in HuffPost. There are many food items that pack a lot of sugar and we may not be aware of it, like sandwich bread and salad dressing. The doctor added that reducing sugar intake reduces the risk of diabetes, obesity and kidney disease.
Smoking is a risk factor for chronic kidney disease, according to Mayo Clinic. They can damage your kidneys and make existing kidney damage worse. It can cause diabetes, which is another risk factor for bad kidney health. In fact, being a smoker can increase the chances of getting diabetic nephropathy, also called diabetic kidney disease. It affects our kidneys by reducing its ability to do its usual work of removing waste products and extra fluid.
When we consume food rich in salt or processed food, which might have excess sodium, it can increase blood pressure and, as a result, affect our kidneys negatively. Instead of salt, food can be flavored with herbs and spices, according to Kidney.org. Excess salt also leads to increased chances of kidney stones, which can cause nausea, severe pain, and trouble peeing, writes WebMD.
When we eat more foods that have protein, like meat, poultry, and egg, than we need, it can be taxing for the kidneys. They are an additional risk for those who are pre-disposed to kidney disease, Mayo Clinic says. We can reduce the amount of work our kidneys need to do while consuming less protein. Eating less protein and staying healthy and muscular are possible simultaneously. Unlike what people think, Americans are getting double the amount of protein than necessary, including athletes.
When we drink enough water, which is three to four pints a day, it keeps our body well hydrated. A good level of hydration helps our kidneys remove sodium and toxins from the body. It is also one of the best and easiest ways to reduce the chances of kidney stones, which can be very painful. If your pee is light yellow, it means you are consuming the right amount of water, says WebMD.
Over-the-counter pain medication like NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), negatively impacts the kidneys. It is worse if you already have kidney disease. It helps to reduce the regular use of pain medication and not go over the recommended dosage. Medication like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) which are for heartburn can lead to swelling in our kidneys if taken for a long time. Consulting a doctor about a different heartburn drug, an H2 blocker, would be helpful in the long-term.