Our kidneys are one of the vital organs and proper body function depends on them. They are bean-shaped in appearance and are positioned laterally against the back muscles in the upper abdominal cavity right beneath the rib cage.
Our kidneys perform a very long list of functions. They detoxify our blood, filter out waste through urine and remove the excess of water from the body. Our kidneys retain water when the body needs more.
These important organs also help to regulate the calcium and phosphate levels in the body. They also secrete important hormones that help to regulate body functions like blood pressure and formation of red blood cells – erythrocytes. They are vital for transporting oxygen and important nutrients throughout the body.
Proper kidney function is vital for our overall health. Numerous different signs can point to kidney malfunction, but the most common symptoms include: change in color and amount of urine, dizziness, vomiting, anemia, breathing issues, feeling cold most of the time, tiredness or fatigue, itchy skin, bad breath and sudden pain in the body.
1. Insufficient Water Intake
What can actually be detrimental for your kidney health is drinking insufficient amounts of water. The main function of our kidneys is to flush out metabolic waste from the body and regulate erythrocyte production.
When there’s not enough water in the body, there’s less blood flow to the kidneys because the blood becomes more concentrated. This affects the kidneys’ ability to remove toxins from the body and eventually leads to toxin accumulation in the body.
The National Kidney Foundation recommends drinking a minimum of 10-12 glasses of liquids daily for healthy adults. It will ensure optimal kidney function, but also body hydration.
2. Consuming Too Much Coffee
The excessive intake of caffeine can lead to hypertension, which consequently overworks your kidneys. This can damage your kidneys in the long run.
A 2002 study published in Kidney International, caffeine has been closely linked to kidney stones because caffeine increases calcium excretion in urine.
But, if it’s consumed moderately, caffeine won’t cause health problems for most people. The recommended dose is 1-2 cups of coffee, and 3 cups of tea per day. You should also cut down other sources of caffeine including soft and energy drinks, chocolate, cocoa and some medications.
3. High Salt Consumption
Serious damage to your kidneys can be caused by too much salt along with other health complications. Our kidneys metabolize 95% of the sodium consumed through food, so excessive sodium intake puts a lot of unnecessary strain on this organ.
So according to this, high sodium consumption makes your kidneys work harder to eliminate the excess salt. Consequently, this results in reduced kidney function and water retention in the body. Water retention, on the other hand, can increase blood pressure, which further worsens your kidney health.
The intake of salt increases the levels of urinary protein, which is one of the underlying causes of kidney disease.
The recommended daily sodium requirements shouldn’t exceed 5 grams. Everything above this is unsafe for your kidneys and your overall health. 1 teaspoon of salt measures around 6 grams.
4. Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Moderate alcohol consumption means nothing wrong. But, excessive drinking can be really harmful for your kidneys. Alcohol puts a lot of stress on your kidneys and liver. When it’s consumed in high amounts, it results in uric acid being deposited in the renal tubules and leads to tubular obstruction. This puts you at a high risk of kidney failure. Alcohol also causes dehydration thus affecting normal kidney function.
The recommended amount of alcohol per day is 2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women and seniors.
5. Lack of Sleep
The most common health issue related to our modern way of life is definitely sleep deprivation. Health experts advise that sound sleep of 6-8 hours a day is vital for overall health.
During sleep, organ tissues inside our body regenerate. So, when you are sleep deficient, this regeneration process is hampered, which later results in kidney and other organ damage.
Numerous different studies have found that sleep deprivation can also lead to high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), which only puts you at a higher risk of kidney disease.
Healthy sleeping habits and a good work-rest balance will significantly improve your kidney function as well as your overall health, so be careful!