All body organs play a critical role, and the kidneys are no exception. These are two bean-shaped organs located at the back of the abdominal cavity. One is on the left side, and the other one is on the right.
Some of the significant functions of kidneys include; release of renin to regulate blood pressure, remove metabolic wastes and excrete them outside the body, secrete erythropoietin hormone, which controls the formation rate of red blood cells, and adjust the pH, volume, and composition of body fluids.
When they are not functioning well, the above functions are affected, and this could cause some diseases to crop up. This article talks of typical behaviors and common foods that harm your kidneys.
Everyday Habits and Foods that may be destroying your Kidneys
High Sodium Intake
The kidneys are one of the most body’s most important filters. They use osmosis to filter your blood and draw out unwanted fluid and this process requires not only sodium, but potassium as well in a very delicate balance. When this balance is upset by an overly high sodium concentration, these organs have to work extra hard to excrete the excess water.
The stress experienced by the kidneys when they work too hard reduces its functions, causing water retention in the body. This increases blood pressure, a condition that in itself usually isn’t fatal but the long term damage to the kidneys include damaging blood vessels and arteries.
One misconception about high blood pressure and sodium, however, is that consuming too much table salt is a huge contributor to elevated blood pressure levels.
Actually, most of the sodium we consume comes from foods we don’t prepare ourselves! The ultimate way to reduce your sodium intake is really to prepare your own meals at home. Processed/packaged/canned foods and restaurant meals (fast food included), for example, are typically high in sodium and that is how most of us end up consuming way more than the daily recommended amounts.
Therefore, to reduce sodium intake, we don’t necessarily have to put away the salt shaker; instead just limit the amount of processed food in our diets, eat out less, and just opt for more home cooked meals.
Insufficient Water Intake
Apart from cooling the body, water plays a vital role in other organs like kidneys. One of the primary functions of these organs is to excrete waste from the body. These organs need enough water to do this efficiently, so lack of it will result in the buildup of dangerous materials in the body. Excess toxins affect other body parts and organs, and this might result in other chronic conditions.
Most people ignore the first signs of the urge to urinate. They procrastinate because they do not want to use a public bathroom or want to complete other activities first. This common behavior increases pressure in the kidneys and also creates a conducive environment for bacteria to grow.
Increased pressure in the kidneys can result in urine incontinence, renal failure, urinary tracts infections, and other renal diseases. It is, therefore, important to visit a bathroom as soon as you feel the urge to urinate.
High Animal Protein Diet
Another crucial role of the kidneys is to metabolize and eliminate nitrogenous wastes, which are by-products of protein digestion, from the body. When one consumes too much animal protein, they increase the chances of getting kidney diseases because the body can’t eliminate the uric acid generated fast enough. This excess uric acid increases the chance of developing kidney stones.
Lack of Sleep
Finding a balance between work and rest is important. Both tasks are equally necessary for the proper functioning of the body, so no limited time should be assigned to a particular one. When human beings are up and going about their daily tasks, all the body organs are usually working at full capacity as well. These organs need time to recharge, and studies have shown that tissues renew when one is asleep.
When one does not get sufficient sleep, the renewal process is interrupted, and this can result in clogging of the arteries and high blood pressure if it goes on for a significant period. Such conditions increase the chances of developing kidney diseases. This can be avoided by ensuring one gets sufficient sleep in a day, with the minimum requirement being six hours.
Alcohol is harmful to a person’s body if consumed in large quantities. It is a toxin that causes a lot of unnecessary stress to the kidney, and excessive amounts cause it to work harder. Furthermore, alcohol dehydrates the body and increases blood pressure – neither of which are good for proper renal function.
Another interesting thing to note is that both binge and long term drinking can damage this vital organ and even if damage doesn’t occur directly from alcohol consumption, it can occur indirectly due the liver damage received from the alcohol abuse.
In every health related article on the internet, smoking is the bad guy and this one is no different.
This activity has been shown to be a major risk factor for kidney disease due to a decrease in blood flow to the kidneys.
Ignoring Common Infections
People have a habit of ignoring common infections such as pharyngitis, tonsillitis, colds, and flu. They tend to think that such illnesses will go away or they even self-medicate without consulting a specialist.
Such common infections are usually brought about by bacteria or viruses. If not properly treated, they can cause kidney damage. Making sure you get the right treatment as soon as you notice you have an infection can help avoid such complications.
It is possible to improve the quality of life by ensuring all the body parts and organs are well taken care of. This can be achieved by monitoring the lifestyles we lead.
Kidney and other organs problems can be mitigated by ensuring you consume the right foods (limited animal and processed), get proper rest and exercise.
Monitoring your blood pressure is another important activity for mitigating renal impairment. This is why when hypertension is first discovered, a check for kidney damage is one of the first things a doctor will do.
If you do have hypertension, you can treat your high blood pressure naturally, use prescription medication or a combination of the two. Regardless of the method employed, it is important to take the necessary steps towards addressing this because it is one of, if not the main cause of kidney damage and failure.