Buzz 46Buzz 46: 10 Common Lifestyle Habits That Could Be Damaging Your Kidneys

Buzz 46: 10 Common Lifestyle Habits That Could Be Damaging Your Kidneys

We never think of a specific organ when trying to be healthy overall. But, as you age, paying attention to bone health, kidney and liver function, and heart health becomes increasingly important. Your kidneys work 24/7 to keep the body healthy by filtering out toxins and extra fluid and regulating blood pressure. The critical regulation of the body’s salt, potassium and acid content is performed by the kidneys. The kidneys also produce hormones that affect the function of other organs. And damage to the kidneys can prove life-threatening. 

On World Kidney Day, TC46 brings you 10 nuggets of knowledge about kidney health and which habits to adopt or ditch to maintain optimal kidney health. 

1. Consuming large quantities of processed foods

Processed food has a higher content of sodium and phosphorus as additives and in addition, they are calorie-dense. The health implications are high blood pressure risk from sodium intake and obesity risk from higher intake of calories. High blood pressure and obesity negatively affect kidney health, but we must remember they are slow burners and give us time to correct them. Some studies have shown that high phosphorus intake from processed foods in people without kidney disease may be harmful to their kidneys and bones.

2. Overdoing your protein intake

High protein intake has a negative effect on kidney function by altering the microcirculation of kidney blood flow and also by increasing the acid burden of the body. It may be good to know what is too much protein. The amount of protein is adjusted for the weight of the body: Recommended as 0.8 g/kg of body weight.  Studies show that a plant-based protein diet may be more beneficial for patients with moderate kidney disease. A high-protein diet may worsen kidney function in people with kidney disease because your body may have trouble eliminating all the waste products of protein metabolism.

3. Overuse of painkillers

When used improperly, pain medicines can cause problems in the body, including the kidneys. According to research, as many as 3% to 5% of new cases of chronic kidney failure each year may be caused by the overuse of these painkillers. Your kidneys could be damaged if you take large amounts of over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. None of these medicines should be taken daily or regularly without first talking to your healthcare provider.

4. Having an irregular sleep pattern

Kidney function is actually regulated by the sleep-wake cycle. Variation in intrinsic kidney functions with the circadian rhythm is described. This includes kidney blood flow, how the kidney handles salt and water and also hormone secretion for blood production. New studies suggest that lack of sleep may be a gateway to kidney disease, at least for women. The kidney is timed to work differently during the night than during the day because the demands on the body are different. Short sleep changes the physiology of the kidney over the daily cycle, and these changes might damage the kidney.

5. Eating too many foods high in sugar

A higher intake of sweets, chocolates and desserts, packaged juice and soda is a major driver of obesity,  diabetes, hypertension and direct kidney injury in certain contexts. Over time, high sugar levels in the blood can cause these vessels to become narrow and clogged. Without enough blood, the kidneys become damaged and albumin (a type of protein) passes through these filters and ends up in the urine where it should not be.

6. Smoking cigarettes

Smoking has been identified as an independent risk factor for causing kidney disease. It can raise the risk of high blood pressure and also worsen kidney disease in diabetics. The risk remains high for years after cessation of smoking. It can increase your risk of developing some kidney cancers. damage your heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular system), leading to poor blood flow to the kidneys and causing kidney damage over time.

7. Sitting still for long periods of time

Sitting for long periods of time has now been linked to the development of kidney disease, according to a new study. Although researchers don’t know yet 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 factors in kidney health. 

8. Excessive caffeine consumption

Moderate caffeine intake is noted to have a protective effect for kidney stone formation due to calcium buy its diuretic effect. It is important to know the concept of ‘quantity’ in this context. Experts say that 300 mg of caffeine intake in a day is safe. 230 ml of black coffee will have about 130 mg of caffeine. Coffee taken with milk and sugar is bound to have less caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can cause increased blood flow, blood pressure and stress on the kidneys. Excessive caffeine intake has also been linked to kidney stones.

9. Drinking alcohol in excess

Regular heavy drinking, more than four drinks a day, has been found to double the risk of chronic kidney disease. Heavy drinkers who also smoke have an even higher risk of kidney problems. Smokers who are heavy drinkers have about five times the chance of developing chronic kidney disease than people who don’t smoke or drink alcohol to excess.

10. Not drinking enough water

Staying well hydrated helps your kidneys clear sodium and toxins from the body. Drinking plenty of water is also one of the best ways to avoid painful kidney stones. Those with kidney problems or kidney failure may need to restrict their fluid intake, but for most people, drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day is a healthy target.

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