Kidneys are one of the most vital organs in the human body. To keep you fit and healthy – it detoxifies the blood, regulates and flushes away the waste products in the form of urine. These two bean-shaped organs keep the body clean from harmful toxins by filtering the blood. Kidneys also help to remove excess water from the body and retain water when the body needs more.
In addition to that, the kidneys regulate mineral levels (such as sodium, potassium, and phosphorus) in the blood and produce hormones which are responsible for maintaining the blood pressure and stimulate red blood cell production in the bone marrow. The sole purpose of red blood cells is to carry out nutrients and oxygen throughout the entire body.
Our life is not possible without the kidneys; so taking care of the kidneys is highly important. But, unfortunately, due to the ignorance of healthy lifestyle, many people are suffering from various kidney problems all around the world. Most of us do not give proper attention to these remarkable components of the body and millions of people die each year from serious kidney diseases.
There are some unhealthy common habits we follow in our lifestyle that can damage our kidneys’ health. As a result, kidney disease can affect the body’s function to clean blood, filter extra water out of the blood, and help control blood pressure.
Here you will get a list of some unhealthy habits that are harmful to the kidneys.
1. Constantly Holding Urine:
Always urinate whenever nature calls, no matter how busy you are. Emptying your bladder timely is important for the benefit of your kidneys’ health. Holding urine in your bladder for a long time can increase the urine pressure in the kidneys. That leads to kidneys failure, urinary tract infections and many bladder-related problems.
If you have this bad habit, it can increase the urine pressure in your kidneys. So, do empty your bladder whenever you feel a strong urge if you want to take care of your kidneys for good.
2. Not Drinking Enough Water (Dehydration):
A good amount of water is necessary to nourish the nephrons of the kidney that filter out the toxins and excrete the waste products from our body. A nephron is the functional unit of the kidney that is responsible for separating water, minerals & small molecules from the blood, and flush out wastes and toxins.
If kidneys do not receive ample amounts of water, there is less blood flow to the kidneys. This hampers the kidneys’ function to eliminate toxins from the body. Due to this bodily waste builds up and accumulates inside the body. It can also lead to UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). So, it is advisable to drink about 8-10 glass of water on daily basis to keep your body hydrated to regulate erythrocyte (Red Blood Cells) and stay healthy.
3. Excessive Sodium Consumption:
Salt (Sodium Source) is an essential mineral for some important biological functions in the body but excessive uses can damage your kidneys, as well as other health problems can arise like heart attack and stroke. Regularly eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure level, which may cause too much strain on the kidneys.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.
Also Read: How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day?
Most of the salt in your diet comes from snacks, junk food, canned and processed food. So, cut down this unhealthy food and choose fresh fruits, veggies, nuts etc. You can also include foods with potassium, like sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, white beans, kidney beans, non-fat yogurt, oranges, bananas. Potassium is helpful to counter the effects of sodium and may help lower your blood pressure.
Also Read: How to Reduce Sodium in Your Diet?
4. Overusing Painkillers:
There are so many painkillers available without a prescription like aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and others. Taking painkillers regularly over a long period of time may increase the risk for kidney diseases.
So, whenever you feel a headache, sore throat and common cold; stop the habit of taking painkillers or high dose of other tablets. These medicines are known to reduce the blood flow to the kidneys. So, the kidney has to perform in insufficient blood flow causing kidney failure and liver damage. Always use prescribed medicine by the doctor or use home remedies to treat pain or disease.
Also Read: Uses of Painkillers and Kidney Damage
5. Too Much Protein Intake by People with Pre-existing Renal Disease:
Protein is an important macronutrient for muscles building, growth, weight loss, increased lean mass and repair of all parts of the body. But, some studies suggest that high dose of protein can be harmful to people with the pre-existing renal disease.
So, People with kidney disease are advised to eat low-protein diets. People who are suffering from any kidney diseases must avoid excessive protein-rich diet as it can worsen the kidneys’ function because high protein intake may promote renal damage by chronically increasing glomerular pressure and hyperfiltration. However, higher protein diets don’t adversely affect kidney function in healthy people.
6. Ignoring Common Infections:
People with kidney disease are more vulnerable to weather changes and often get sick. The common diseases like a sore throat, cold, flu, coughs, pharyngitis, tonsillitis contains viruses which if left untreated for a long time can seriously affect your kidneys. So, whenever you feel sick doesn’t ignore the warning. Just take prescribed medicine by the doctor so that your kidney remains protected from the virus.
7. Consumption of Too Much Alcohol:
Regular high consumption of alcohol can double the risk chronic kidney disease. The excessive consumption of alcohol results in the disruption of the functions of the kidneys and the liver. These functions include filtering the blood and maintain the electrolyte and ph balance in the body. If too much alcohol intake is not stopped on time it may affect kidneys’ functions and lead to dialysis.
Also Read: Alcohol’s Impact on Kidney Function
People who do excessive smoking have a higher risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Smoking is also responsible for high blood pressure which is the root cause of heart and kidney related disease.
The disadvantage of smoking is it creates a blockage or narrows the blood vessels that affect the blood supply to the kidneys. So, smoking makes the job of the kidneys to filter out the excess fluid more difficult and lethargic and put stress on renal function.
9. Drinking Caffeine in Excess:
Drinking a lot of caffeinated beverages increases the high blood pressure resulting in disrupting the function of kidneys. Also, high dose of caffeine consumption increase urinary calcium levels that leads to calcium oxalate kidney stones. So, replace your coffee with green tea as it has many health benefits.
10. Sleep Deprivation:
Study suggests that women who have poor sleep may be at higher risk for kidney diseases over time. Due to sleep deprivation, the kidney is not able to excrete the waste products from the body, and then these waste products get accumulated in the body and thereby resulting in insomnia. So, take a good night’s sleep that is extremely important to your overall health.
11. Not Doing Exercise:
You must engage in some kind of a physical activity to keep your kidneys healthy. Implement a program of regular exercise; it will help lower your blood pressure and prevent diabetes, heart disease and kidney failure.