The kidneys are important organs because they perform several functions. Namely, they purify the blood and enable the body to eliminate waste through the urine. Also, they are responsible for the removal of surplus water from the body or retention of fluids when the body is in need of more liquids.
The kidneys also regulate the levels of essential minerals like calcium and phosphate. They regulate the blood pressure as they produce the needed hormones. Taking into consideration the abovementioned functions of the kidneys, their health is crucial so that our overall health is in order.
However, sometimes, the kidneys become sick. Some of the early symptoms of kidney problems are vomiting, breathing problems, changes in quantity and color of the urine, fatigue, bad breath, anemia, and, sudden ache. If you experience any of these symptoms, the best thing to do is to consult your physician.
In most of the cases, kidney damage occurs due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Take a look at these 10 common habits that can cause kidney malfunction:
- Postponing the urination
If you don’t urinate when you feel the need to, the urine remains in the bladder for a longer period of time and causes harmful bacteria that can lead to infections of the kidneys or the urinary tract. Retention is also known to cause urinary incontinence and renal insufficiency due to the pressure on the kidneys. So, if you have a habit of delaying the urge to urinate, stop it before it is too late.
- Water deficiency
When a person doesn’t intake enough water, the blood concentrates and there is a decreased blood flow to the kidneys. Hence, this condition lowers the kidneys’ ability to eliminate toxins from the body, which leads to serious health problems. 12 glasses of water per day is the recommended amount by the National Kidney Foundation.
- Too much salt
The kidneys metabolize nearly 95% of the salt coming from the food you eat. And, when you intake too much salt, the kidneys need to work harder in order to eliminate the surplus amount. This is when the kidney function reduces, thus, causing water retention in the body. Water retention is known to increase the blood pressure and the risk of kidney diseases. According to newest studies, salt consumption increases the amount of urinary protein-another factor which increases the risk of kidney disease. Experts claim that any amount higher than 5 grams of salt per day can cause serious damage to the kidneys. One teaspoon of salt is about six grams.
- Frequent use of analgesics
A lot of people take painkillers on a frequent basis. Nonetheless, this is a harmful habit for the kidneys, and the other organs as well. A study showed that painkillers decrease the blood flow to the kidneys and cause improper kidney function. And, long-term usage of analgesics is known to cause chronic kidney disease.
- Too much proteins
Including too much red meat in your daily diet significantly increases the chances for a kidney disease. Namely, the kidneys metabolize and remove nitrogenous waste from the body-by products of protein digestion. However, consumption of too much protein increases the glomerular pressure and hyperfiltration, which increases the metabolic load of the kidneys.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
If you drink too much alcohol, the uric acid stores in the renal tubules, thus, causes tubular obstruction which increases the chances for renal insufficiency. Namely, dehydration is another result of excessive alcohol consumption. The recommended amount of alcohol is 2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women and elders, daily.
Did you know that smoking is the number one reason for ESRD, according to the American Association of Kidney Patients? Moreover, this unhealthy habit increases the blood pressure and heart rate, thus, lowers the blood flow to the kidneys.
- Too much caffeine
Excessive intake of caffeine causes high blood pressure and kidney overload. Moreover, with time, it can cause serious kidney damage. According to a study published in 2002 by the Kidney International, too much caffeine can cause kidney stones and caffeine is also known to increase the calcium excretion in the urine. 1 cup per day is the recommended amount of caffeine. You should also limit other caffeine drinks like energy drinks, soft drinks, etc.
- Neglecting common infections
When coughs, colds, flu, tonsillitis, and other common infections are left untreated, the bacteria and viruses lead to kidney damage. So, whenever you get an infection, treat it properly and timely.
- Not enough sleep
Healthy sleeping habits are crucial since the tissues of the organs renew during sleep. If you are deprived of sleep, your organs get damaged, including the kidneys. What’s more, newest studies have shown that sleepless nights tend to cause high blood pressure and clogged arteries- known to increase the chances for kidney diseases. Therefore, if you want to protect your kidneys, sleep 6 to 8 hours daily.