Common Habits that Affect Kidneys

1. Overuse of Painkillers

OTC ( Over the counter) pain medicines, such as NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may reduce your pain, but can harm the kidneys, especially if you are already a kidney patient. Avoid self medication and never go over the recommended dosage.

2.Excessive intake of Salt

High intake of salt increases the sodium levels, which cause increased blood pressure and ultimately harm your kidneys.  Adding flavour to the food by herbs and spices may make it easier to avoid using added salt (sodium) on your food. 

3. Consuming Processed Foods

Processed foods are good sources of sodium and phosphorus.  Kidney patients need to limit phosphorus in their diet. Some studies have shown that high intake of phosphorus from processed foods in healthy individuals may be harmful to the kidneys and bones.

4. Lack of Drinking Enough Water

Staying well hydrated helps your kidneys remove sodium and toxins from the body. Drinking enough water is also one of the best ways to avoid diseases like kidney stones. People with kidney problems /kidney failure may need to restrict their fluid intake, but for majority, drinking 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day is healthy.

5. Lack of Sleep

A good night sleep is important for your overall well-being and kidneys. Kidney function is controlled by the sleep-wake cycle which helps balance the kidneys’ workload in 24 hours. 

6. Eating Excessive Meat

Animal protein generates high amounts of acid in the blood that may be harmful to the kidneys and cause acidosis – a condition in which kidneys cannot clear acid fast enough. However protein is needed for growth, regulation and repair of all body parts but your diet should also include fruits and vegetables in balanced amounts.

7. Eating Too Much Sugar

Sugar leads to obesity which increases the risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, two most leading causes of kidney disease. Sugar is often added to foods and drinks that you may not consider “sweet” like breakfast cereals and white bread which are sources of processed sugar.

8.Smoking

 Smoking isn’t good for your lungs or your heart. But smoking is not healthy for your kidneys either. People who smoke are more likely to have protein in the urine which is an early sign of kidney damage.

9. Drinking Excessive Alcohol

Regular heavy drinking of more than four drinks a day has been found to double the risk of kidney disease . Heavy drinkers & smokers have an even higher risk of kidney problems/ disease than people who don’t smoke or drink alcohol to excess.

10. Sitting Still 

Sitting for long periods of time is associated to kidney disease. Although research is still going to know why or how sedentary time or physical activity directly impact kidney health, it is known that greater physical activity is associated with improved blood pressure and glucose metabolism, both important for kidney health. 

Source of information: National Kidney Foundation

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