10 Most Common Habits that Damage Your Kidneys
Kidney problems can be caused by different reasons, but people have adopted many habits that can as well cause severe damage to their kidneys.
The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located in the back of the abdomen. They filter the blood and aid the body in removing the waste through urine. Another important function of the kidneys is to remove the excess water from the body, or retain it when more liquids are needed. In addition to this, the kidneys also produce hormones that help maintain a normal blood pressure, and are responsible for the regulation of important minerals like calcium and phosphate.
To stay healthy, it is of utmost importance to keep the kidneys functioning properly. 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 these symptoms, consult you doctor immediately to exclude the possibility of kidney disease.
There are many different reasons behind kidney problems. However, in most cases, the main cause for 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 the bacteria breeding in urine to multiply. These harmful bacteria can cause infections to the kidneys or the urinary tract. Moreover, retaining the urine can also lead to urinary incontinence and renal insufficiency because it puts a lot the pressure on the kidneys. So, if you are one of those who has a habit to delaying the urge to urinate, it is high 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 can significantly reduce the ability of kidneys to remove toxins and can lead to severe health problems.
According to National Kidney Foundation, each individual should drink 10-12 glasses of water daily to keep the kidneys healthy and the body well hydrated.
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. In time, this can lead decreased kidney functioning, causing water retention in the body. As you probably know, water retention significantly increases 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 that only one teaspoon of salt is about six grams.
Regular Use of Analgesics
Many people regularly use analgesics or over-the-counter painkillers to control pain and reduce inflammation. However, this unhealthy habit can be very harmful to numerous organs, including the kidneys.
One recent study has shown that over-the-counter analgesics significantly reduce the blood flow to the kidneys, causing improper kidney function. Moreover, it is also very likely that heavy or long-term use of analgesics will cause a chronic kidney disease called chronic interstitial nephritis.
High Protein Diet
Protein is good for your health, but excessive consumption of high-protein foods like red meat 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 protein intake raises the glomerular pressure and hyperfiltration, which significantly increases the metabolic load of kidneys. This in turn, increases the risk of kidney disease.
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 problems.
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. This significantly increases the risk of renal insufficiency. Moreover, regular consumption of alcohol can also cause dehydration.
If you like to drink alcohol, then do it in moderation. A healthy amount of alcohol consumption is 2 drinks for men per day, and one drink for women and older people.
The connection between smoking and kidney disease has been documented by many studies in the last few decades. In fact, 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 reduces blood flow. Smoking can even 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. Over time, this can cause severe damage to the kidneys. A study published by Kidney International in 2002 study has shown that high consumption of caffeine can also lead to kidney stones. Moreover, caffeine also increases 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 drinks, 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 don’t have healthy sleep habits because of their busy lifestyle. Having a proper sleep is 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 found that sleepless nights can cause high blood pressure and clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), which significantly increases the risk of kidney diseases. According to health professionals, a 6 to 8-hour sleep is crucial for everyone’s overall health and well-being.