Kidney Health: 6 Habits That Are Damaging Your Filters
Today’s lifestyle and steady availability of processed food and drinks high in sugar and synthetic compounds put a great deal of strain on our kidney health. Our everyday life and the choices that we make may seem harmless, and without knowing it, many of us are directly putting a strain on our filter organs. Something as simple as not drinking water combined with other factors like a high-salt diet can result in kidney failure later in life.
Here we’ll be taking a look at six common habits that may harm your kidney health, as well as showing you the early warning signs of kidney damage.
How do I know I have unhealthy kidneys?
Left flank pain that comes and goes is typically a clear sign that your kidneys are taking the strain. Several kidney disorders manifest pain in the flank area between the bottom of your rib cage and the topmost section of the hip. Fever often accompanies pain, as does nausea, and in some cases, vomiting. Severity ranges from mild and nagging to incapacitating, but kidney cancer seldom causes flank pain, unless there is blood in the urine as well. Other signs of unhealthy kidneys include:
- Constant fatigue
- Feeling cold constantly even in a warm environment
- Changes in urinary habits (both more and less)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Rashes and itching of the skin
- Shortness of breath
Habits that damage your kidney health
Here are six of the most common habits that impact kidney function. Most people with impaired kidney function will find that they’re manifesting more than one symptom.
1. Using too many painkillers
Prolonged overuse of over the counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory agents can cause kidney damage. The risk of damage is even higher if you already have kidney disease. Never exceed the minimum dosage and don’t go over the maximum duration of its course.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most commonly overused medication resulting in acute kidney injury. Medications like ibuprofen and naproxen need control and moderation. Otherwise, they impair renal function. If the damage is ongoing for too long, the patient will need dialysis and steroid therapy before their kidney health will improve.
The damage will regenerate if the duration and dosage of overuse did not cause advanced symptoms like foaming urine, darkened urine, or breathing distress to occur.
2. Using too much salt
High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. Consuming excess amounts of salt over a prolonged period will tip your blood pressure out of balance which raises the risk of kidney damage. Studies connect a high salt intake to chronic kidney disease, in addition to the effect of raising blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease as well.
High salt intake increases the count of urinary protein found which has widespread effects ranging from kidney stones to heart failure.
3. Consuming excess quantities of meat
Eating animal protein increases the amount of urinary protein and the number of waste metabolites flushed from the body. When meat forms the basis of a diet, an imbalance of urea occurs. As meat metabolizes, several byproducts or metabolites arise. Red meat, in particular, raises the risk of numerous diseases due to the high acid environment which consumption promotes.
Where animal protein breaks down into metabolites which are high in dietary acids, plant protein lowers the PH restoring some of the damage done by meat when substituting over a long term basis.
4. Eating processed food
Processed food contains high concentrations of salt, sugar and other synthetic elements like phosphorus. The concentration of contamination is even higher when consuming processed food which is high in acidity like meat products and canned tomato. Phosphorus is extremely toxic to the kidneys and trace elements of metal and compounds like put strain on the kidneys.
Even though toxic elements like lead, iron, tin, and cadmium remain at very low levels thanks to regulatory standards, they’re still metabolized.
5. Excess consumption of sugar
High sugar intake is a major driving factor of kidney disease. Sucrose and high fructose corn syrup both link to an increased risk of chronic kidney disease while consuming sugar even in minute quantities will cause widespread kidney damage for those who have diabetes or those who are borderline diabetic.
Kidney dysfunction resulting from a high sugar intake is called diabetic kidney disease. Even if you don’t fall within this risk group, sugar creates an acidic environment which makes the kidneys work harder to flush toxins.
6. Drinking too little water
Proper hydration is essential to optimal, healthy kidney function. Water helps your body flush toxins, it balances your body temperature, and it’s essential to the lubrication of your joints and muscles. Without proper hydration, brain function declines making you feel fatigued. The first organ to start manifesting problems due to dehydration is the kidneys.
Other Habits that Impair Kidney Function
These aren’t the only bad habits that put a strain on your kidneys. The kidney’s workload is directly regulated by sleeping and waking, which is why addicts and those abusing prescription medication put so much strain on their organs.
Stress – combined with a lack of sleep and overworked kidneys – results in uncoordinated function which splashes over to everything from breathing to bathroom habits. People who sleep less are at a higher risk of faster kidney decline as well.
Both smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol can put stress your kidney health and lead to kidney failure. Another rather surprising contributing factor is staying seated all day for long periods.
How to Improve Kidney function
Most sufferers can recover from mild kidney damage if a healthy diet is followed and they stop their unhealthy habits. Foods such as cauliflower and green leafy vegetables like kale and Swiss chard are very high in vitamin K. Liver disease is attributed to decreased bile salt synthesis which impairs the body’s rate of absorbing vitamin K leading to blood clotting.
Almost all clotting factors originate in the liver due to the deficiency of vitamin K. It is thus essential to ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet with enough of this and other essential vitamins and foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants support the kidneys making toxins easier to flush.
Try something like whole roasted cauliflower infused with garlic and paprika for a dinner that packs a healthy punch. You get your vitamins and antioxidants, and Tesco’s offering gives you this tasty meal in a minute.
Eat healthily and adjust your habits and you’ll soon find yourself feeling better with more energy, greater concentration, and improved overall well-being thanks to your improving kidney health.
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