The kidneys are powerful bean-shaped organs that perform many important functions. They are responsible for filtering waste products, releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure, balancing fluids in the body, producing urine and many other essential tasks.
A healthy person with normally functioning kidneys probably has little cause to notice them. However, this changes when symptoms like fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, headaches and muscle cramps arise. People experiencing kidney problems may notice a change in the frequency and volume of urination. Numbness or swelling in the feet and hands are also common symptoms, while others may feel relentlessly thirsty and experience mental confusion.
Most of these symptoms arise only in the latter stages of kidney disease. Many people in the early stages have few or no symptoms at all. This is why it’s critical to recognize risk factors for kidney disease.
There are various ways in which these vital organs can become damaged. An individual who has a personal or family history of any of these conditions is at greater risk for developing kidney disease:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Additional risk factors include obesity, smoking, kidney stones and chronic urinary tract infections, genetics, gender and age can also increase the risk.
Uncontrolled blood sugar and high blood pressure cause damage to blood vessels in the kidneys, reducing their ability to function at an optimal level. When the kidneys aren’t working properly, waste builds up in the blood.
It’s important for people to be aware of these risk factors, because they most often causes kidney disease.
Doctors say that people with conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease often experience impaired kidney function. This can become dangerous, especially if it goes untreated.
Even people who don’t have any of the risk factors for developing kidney problems may benefit from promoting kidney health.
These 8 golden rules that every people need to follow for healthy kidneys:
1. Drink Enough Water
Proper hydration is vital to kidney health. Water helps your kidneys to remove wastes from your body through urine. When the body doesn’t get enough water, the kidneys get dry, causing them to absorb toxins rather than expel them. Insufficient hydration further causes water retention because the kidneys cannot expel the liquids that they normally would. Frequent dehydration, even if it is mild, may lead to permanent kidney damage. Dehydration can cause a build-up of wastes and acids in the body, and it can clog the kidneys. All these things can hurt the kidneys.
It is recommended that one should drink between six to eight glasses of water every day. But keep in mind that daily intake may need to be increased in conditions like hot weather or when performing strenuous physical activities.
2. Watch Your Salt Intake
Excessive sodium intake may harm people in various ways. Excess salt can raise your chances of high blood pressure and kidney stones, which can be very painful and can cause damage if not treated.
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3. Be careful with alcohol
If you’re healthy, a small amount of drink will not hurt your kidneys. But excess drinking can cause sudden, serious damage and possibly lead to long-term problems. It’s best to refrain from alcohol except on special occasions. People who want to drink more often are advised to restrict intake to one drink a day for women and one to two drinks a day for men.
4. Limit Sugar Intake
People with diabetes are extremely likely to develop kidney disease. Those who have this condition or are at high risk for it are recommended to limit the consumption of sweets, sodas and alcohol.
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5. Quit Smoking
Smoking can raise the risk of kidney and blood vessels damage, which can affect your kidneys and slow down the blood flow. Smoking impairs blood flow to all of the organs, and it can affect certain drugs that treat high blood pressure. Quitting the smoking habit is crucial for promoting healthier kidneys and it is the healthiest choice for everyone.
6. Choose a Healthy Diet
Over time, a bad diet can lead to many health issues like high BP, obesity, diabetes, and other conditions which are hard on your kidneys. A healthy diet includes lots of vegetables, fruits, lean protein and whole grains, and less processed foods, keeps body weight in check while also providing critical nutrients that every system in the body requires for optimal functionality.
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7. Do Exercise Regularly
Exercise helps to prevent conditions like diabetes and heart disease which can lead to kidney damage. Simply taking an after-dinner walk is a great start for becoming more active. Look for ways to increase movement every day. Riding a bike, swimming, dancing and yoga all are wonderful for kidney health.
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8. Limit NSAIDS
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen and similar pain relief remedies put a strain on the kidneys and can damage your kidneys if you take too many at a time or take them frequently. You should consult your doctor for everyday pain management.
Diet and Kidney Disease
Dietary restrictions vary depending on the level of kidney damage. People in the early stages of kidney disease have different restrictions than those with kidney failure.
If you have kidney disease, your health care provider will determine the best diet for your individual needs. For most people with kidney disease, it’s important to follow a kidney-friendly diet that helps to decrease the amount of waste in the blood. This diet is often referred to as a renal diet. It helps to boost kidney function while preventing further damage. While dietary restrictions vary, it is commonly recommended that all people with kidney disease restrict the following nutrients:
Sodium: Sodium is found in many foods and a major component of table salt. Damaged kidneys can’t filter out excess sodium, causing its blood levels to rise.
Potassium: Potassium plays many critical roles in the body, but those with kidney disease need to limit potassium to avoid dangerously high blood levels.
Phosphorus: Damaged kidneys can’t remove excess phosphorus, a mineral in many foods. High levels can cause damage to the body, so dietary phosphorus should be restricted.
Protein: Protein is another nutrient that people with kidney disease may need to limit, as waste products from protein metabolism can’t be cleared out by damaged kidneys.
Each person with kidney disease is different, which is why it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your individual dietary needs.
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