The kidneys perform a lot of important functions for the body’s health. They filter your blood, release hormones that give nutrients, absorb the minerals from the food and supplements you take, and produce the liquid that removes toxins from your body.
The decline or damage to your kidneys might not manifest right away. In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, your kidneys can still function at 30 percent capacity. However, kidney damage can have serious consequences on your health. Here are some habits you need to watch out for or stop doing completely to prevent damaging your kidneys further.
10 Habits That Damage Your Kidneys That Most People Ignore
“Caffeine dehydrates the body and speeds up the aging of the skin and kidneys.” – Ann Louise Gittleman
1. You are not drinking water enough
Keeping your body hydrated is important to the functions of your organs, especially the kidneys.
- Water helps flush the toxins from your body, thus making it easier for the kidneys to clean your system.
- You lessen your risks of developing UTI and kidney stones when you drink water regularly.
- There is no magic number to how many glasses of water you should drink in a day. According to the National Kidney Foundation, men need at least three liters or about 13 cups of water daily. Women, on the other hand, need 2.2 liters or about nine cups every day.
- However, it isn’t good to drink too much water. Athletes, for instance, may be in danger of overdiluting the sodium in their blood and develop a health problem called hyponatremia.
If you’ve been diagnosed with kidney problems, you might need to regulate your water intake as well.
2. You’re not following medical prescriptions to the letter
You should always follow the exact prescription of medicines you need to take. Sticking to what the doctors have prescribed is necessary so that you won’t risk damaging your kidneys.
There are lots of medications that have kidney damage as a side effect. So, if the doctor specifically gave you a fixed duration, stick to it. Never attempt to make changes without consulting a doctor.
Even over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, are harmful to the kidneys if taken every day. Don’t assume that because it’s easy to purchase at the drugstore, it’s less potent or dangerous for your health.
3. You like to eat foods that are high in sodium
If you like foods with high sodium content, a change in your diet might be in order. If your kidney can’t properly flush this ingredient from your body, you could develop high blood pressure along with the swelling of the hands, feet, and ankles.
Before refrigerators were invented, people learned to add salt to food to preserve its freshness. Today, however, cooks use salt to make the food flavorful since people have become so used to its taste.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value for sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams. But it’s easy to exceed this recommendation because a lot of the foods you eat contain sodium, whether its home cooked, from the restaurant, packed, canned or processed.
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The American Heart Association learned in a study that at least one-third of adults think their sodium intake is less than 2,000 mg a day. The agency recommends eating more fruits or vegetables and limiting sugary beverages, as these have high amounts of sodium as well.
4. You’re not aware of your blood pressure
If you’ve never monitored your blood pressure before, it’s time to adopt the habit now. A study in the BMJ Journals linked kidney damage to hypertension. This is because the kidney uses your blood and blood vessels from the cardiovascular system to filter the toxins and distribute the nutrients.
A high blood pressure is usually an indication that something could be wrong with your cardiovascular system. The more the arteries become narrow, blocked or hardened by cholesterol and other toxins, the higher the risks are to kidney damage. When your organs can’t function well, your kidney tissues won’t get the nourishment needed.
If you have a history of hypertension in the family, make it a priority to monitor blood pressure. This way, you don’t just prevent kidney damage but also limit your risks of stroke or a heart attack and enjoy a more positive lifestyle.