Habits That Can Damage Your Kidneys
By Divya Shree
Edited by Stephanie Dawson
Reviewed by Nima Shei MD
The kidneys are important body organs, they take care of the urination process in our bodies by filtering body waste. Despite being such an important component of our body many of us do not properly care for them and millions of people die each year from kidney disease. There are habits many of us have that can harm our kidneys. Here is a list of some habits to avoid for healthy kidneys:
1. Drinking inadequate water
Not drinking enough water is the biggest contributor to damage that our kidneys bear everyday. The main job of our kidneys is to drain metabolic waste from the body and regulate erythrocyte balances. When we do not stay properly hydrated, the renal blood flow decreases, ultimately resulting in accumulation of toxins in the blood.
2. Long-term full bladder
A habit many of us have is delaying the call of nature. When we leave the bladder full of urine for an extended time, different complications in urinary tract may arise: Hypertrophy of detrusor muscle is one example of such complications which may lead to formation of diverticula. Hydronephrosis (increase of urine pressure in kidneys) is another example which is caused by chronic back pressure on kidneys, ultimately resulting in renal impairment.
Urinary incontinence due to overflow is also another serious complication of long term urinary retention.
3.Consuming too much sodium
Metabolizing the sodium we consume is another job for our kidneys. The salt we eat is the prime source of sodium and the majority of our sodium intake needs to be excreted. When we eat excessive salt the kidneys keep busy excreting sodium, which may cause long term stress on our kidneys. 90% of Americans consume too much salt and here are some useful tips to manage your salt intake.
4. Consumption of too much caffeine
When we feel thirsty we often choose beverages other than water like soft drinks and sodas. Many of these beverages contain caffeine. Caffeine can elevate blood pressure and high blood pressure puts strain on the kidneys which can damage them. According to Mayoclinic, most healthy adults, can consume about two to four cups of brewed coffee a day and stay away from harmful effects of caffeine.
5. Pain-killer abuse
Taking pain-killers for low-grade pain is a bad habit many people have. Most pain-killers have severe side effects and can damage different organs, such as kidneys. Research shows taking pain pills long term reduces blood flow and deteriorates kidney’s function.
6. Too much protein
Over-consumption of red meat and other protein-rich foods can deteriorate damaged kidneys condition. A protein-rich diet is essentially healthy unless you suffer from kidney damage and your doctor recommends a protein-restricted diet. Too much protein increases the metabolic load on our kidneys.
7. Ignoring colds and flu
Ignoring the common cold and flu is a habit that can cause kidney damage. Studies show people who have kidney disease also have a history of avoiding resting while sick. It is also observed that people with kidney disease are more sensitive to significant changes in weather.
8. Too much alcohol consumption
When we drink alcohol we often ignore the proper quantity suitable for good health. Too much alcoholic intake is a kidney-damaging habit. Alcohol contains toxins which put stress on our kidneys and can damage them.