Saturday, 4 February 2017

10 Common Habits That Could Damage Your Kidneys

treating kidney damage
Image Credit: icatcare.org

Do you know that you could be on the verge of damaging your Kidneys right now? Sure that got your attention. The Kidneys are very important organs in the body of an animal and I definitely would not have been able to type this if my Kidneys were dysfunctional (I wouldn't even exist at all).
So precious and yet so expensive to replace when they damage. Little wonder why many people (ladies especially) are more than willing to trade one of their Kidneys for an iPhone 7 which is in every way a bad move.

Read More: Water Intoxication: How Drinking Too Much Water Can Actually Kill You.

Resembling two super-sizes beans that fell off the Giant beanstalk, our Kidneys play a critical role in excretion, filtering the blood through a complex mechanism designed to rid the blood of unwanted toxins which are basically by-products of metabolic reactions in the body.  The big question is what if our kidneys were to go bad and fail? Kidney disease is one of the most costly illnesses in the world to treat and it is very expensive to manage Kidney related diseases. Each year, lots of people die from kidney related diseases all over the world, and the number of people suffering from chronic renal failure, and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive is on the increase.
Statistics have it that worldwide, more than millions of patients are waiting for kidney transplants, but only a few thousands will receive transplants because of the shortage of suitable organ donors. More donors will emerge if only they can promise more people the iPhone 7, no doubt about that. Patients usually feel surprised when they are diagnosed with Kidney Failure. Experts have been able to link Kidney related diseases and kidney failure to your daily life habits. Here are the top habits which could lead to a potential Kidney damage.
1. Not emptying your bladder early: Maintaining a full bladder for a long time is a quick way of causing bladder damage. We all do this especially when we're on the bus and can't make a quick stop. That the urine stays in the bladder for a long time can cause the bacteria breeding in urine to multiply quickly. Once the urine reflux back to the ureter and kidneys, the bacteria can result in kidney infections, then urinary tract infection, and then nephritis, even Uremia. So, no matter how busy you are, remember to drink a lot of water and urinate regularly. Once you form the habit of holding back urine, it will ultimately damage your kidneys.

2. Not drinking enough water: The main functions of the kidneys are to regulate erythrocyte balance and eliminate metabolic wastes in the urine. If we do not drink enough water, the blood will be concentrated and the blood flowing to the kidney will not be adequate, thus the function of eliminating toxins in the blood will be impaired leading to Kidney damage.

3. Taking too much salt: 95% sodium we consume through food is metabolised by the kidneys. Exceeding the salt intake will make the kidneys work harder to excrete the excess salt and can lead to decreased kidney function. This excess sodium will cause water retention, causing oedema (or oedema). Oedema usually elevates blood pressure and increases the risk of damaging your kidneys.The daily salt intake should be controlled within 6g per day.
4. Not treating common infections quickly and properly: Common infections, such as pharyngitis, tonsillitis, common cold etc, usually triggers or aggravates kidney damage. They do this by causing an acute attack of acute glomerulonephritis or chronic nephritis. So, you will see that people who get kidney disease for the first time or whose illness condition becomes worse usually have a history of cold or sore throat. If after having a cold, symptoms like blood in urine, swelling, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and poor appetite appear, you should consult your doctor immediately, to assess your kidney functions, and start treatment if compromised.

5. Eating too much meat: Eating too much meat and protein can increase the metabolic load of the kidney. Many of us can not simply resist skewered meat (A.K.A. Suya) and we end up eating lots of it when we get the chance. For those suffering from proteinuria (the presence of excess proteins in the urine), meat consumption may aggravate protein leakage, worsening renal pathological lesion. In healthy persons, urine contains very little protein; an excess is suggestive of illness. It is suggested that protein intake should be 0.8g/kg per day. This means that a person with 50 kg should consume 40g of protein per day. Meat consumption per day should be limited within 300g.

6. Not eating enough: This is equally as dangerous as eating too much, both of them will cause damages to your digestive organs. Mucosal tissues (of the digestive tract) relates closely to your immune system. This is why many kidney failure patients are diagnosed with autoimmune kidney damages.
7. Painkiller abuse: The use of analgesics (e.g Paracetamol) for a prolonged duration may reduce the flow of blood and greatly affect kidney function. In addition, patients with analgesic-induced renal failure are more likely to suffer from bladder cancer. Use analgesics only when it's absolutely necessary, learn to rest instead of taking drugs as Paracetamol could cause dangerous Effects. If you have been on pain killers for a long term, it's about time you had a test to access your renal function done in the case of damages.

8. Missing your drugs: Hypertension and diabetes have been shown to accelerate kidney damage, so if you are diagnosed as having any of these diseases don't live your life in denial, USE YOUR DRUGS. This will ultimately help control your condition while also helping to preserve your kidneys and avert Kidney failure.

9. Drinking too much alcohol: Drinking alcohol has never produced any benefit and never will. Drinking without limitation may cause the deposition of uric acid in renal tubules, causing tubular obstruction and increasing risks of kidney failure.
10. Not resting enough: In our society, hypertension as a severe threat to life is largely due to stress. A common symptom of stress is insomnia (learn more about Insomnia and its causes). Blood pressure may increase by an average of 2-5mg/Hg because of sleeplessness. Chronically elevated blood pressure can cause damage to kidney capillaries giving rise to kidney problems. Thus, we need to develop a good attitude to life and strike a good balance between work and rest to protect your kidneys and live a healthy life.

Kidney damage graphic
Image Credit: healthline.com

At the early stage of kidney diseases, there are usually no special symptoms, so lots of patients are not diagnosed until the acute attack appears or the condition develops into the late stage. So you should endeavour to do a kidney function test from time to time to assess how healthy your kidneys are. Never ignore the soreness of waist, swelling of the feet, changes in urine colour or volume, increase in night urination,  high blood pressure and other such symptoms. Once found, you should go and see your doctor immediately.

Read More: Patient Zero: First Recorded Cases of 8 Common Deadly Disease Outbreaks In History.

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