World Kidney Day: 10 Habits That Can Harm Your Kidneys
World Kidney Day: March 8 is observed as World Kidney Day all across the world. The day is celebrated to raise awareness about the importance of kidneys to our health.
World Kidney Day: Exercising regularly is important for proper functioning of kidneys
- Excessive intake of sodium can be harmful for kidneys
- Trying to hold it in when you want to pee can harm your kidneys
- Keep yourself hydrated to ensure proper functioning of kidneys
Living a poor quality of life or being unable to manage conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure can be harmful for your kidneys in the long run. The more bad habits you have, the worse the damage to the kidneys. Although the damage doesn't happen overnight but you need to change your habits today to keep your kidneys healthy. On the occasion of World Kidney day 2018, which is celebrated all over to spread awareness about kidney disease and its impact, we discuss some undesirable habits which can harm your kidneys in the long run.
Also read: 5 Habits That Can Prevent Kidney Stones
Here are a list of habits which if not checked can harm your kidneys. Dr Vijay Kher, Chairman of the Kidney and Urology Institute at Fortis seconds them :
1. Not drinking enough water
It is extremely important to drink adequate amounts of water to regulate the flow of fluids in the kidneys. Maintaining proper levels of hydration in the body makes kidneys flush out toxins. Drinking enough water has been listed as an essential requirement for optimum kidney health by the US-based National Kidney Foundation.
2. Being deficient in vitamins
Research has reported that being deficient in Vitamin B6 and Vitamin D can increase the risk of kidney damage and kidney stones. According to Delhi-based nephrologist Dr Vikay Kher, kidneys play an important role as far as Vitamin D is concerned. "Vitamin D is activated by the kidney. It is an inactive vitamin which is synthesised in the liver. It affects bone health and that's why patients with kidney diseases have bone diseases," he says.
If you don't pee when it is nature's call, the body tends to hold the toxins it was supposed to flush. If you do this too often, it can lead to kidney stones.
4. Consuming too much salt
Too much sodium in your diet, be it in the form of salt in your cooking or through other hidden sources, can be a cause of worry, especially if you are prone to tendencies of high blood pressure. There are numerous snacks, canned, packaged and junk food, which contain sodium in concentrated quantities. Try and opt for fresh sources of food like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts or other homemade snacks to keep your sodium intake under control.
Dr Vijay says, "Consuming sweets in excess amounts can lead to diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is the most common kind of diabetes in India. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney diseases in the country."
Also read: 6 Home Remedies That Work Like Magic To Get Rid Of Kidney Stones
6. Not exercising regularly
Apart from maintaining body's fitness and health quotient, exercising is important to manage conditions like blood pressure as well. Exercising makes the body function in a proper and healthy manner.
7. Untimely consumption of medicines
Many people are very particular when it comes to consumption of medicines. However, they go wrong when they don't monitor their consumption of medicines in terms of their dosage and fixed duration. Agrees Dr Vijay, who says, "It depends on the kind of drugs and the concentration of drugs that you are having. Kidney is the organ which passes the drugs out of the body. 90% of the drugs have to be excreted through kidneys. People with less efficient kidneys should be more careful about medicine intake as they can have a tremendous impact on the kidneys."
8. Not monitoring your blood pressure regularly
It is important to constantly keep monitoring your blood pressure since hypertension or high blood pressure can possibly harm your kidneys.
9. Binge drinking and smoking
Kidneys perform the function of filtering harmful substances from the body, including alcohol. So, consuming too much alcohol can add pressure to your kidneys. Alcohol can also damage the body's renal system as well. Alcohol causes dehydration in the body, affecting the performance of other organs as well. Many liver diseases are caused because of excessive alcohol intake. This is in turn interrupts the blood flow to the kidneys. Latest research now shows how smoking too can now directly lead to kidney disease.
Consuming an excess of protein-rich food, especially red meat can damage your kidneys. Toxins like nitrogen and ammonia are released by kidneys through a protein source. Consuming protein in excessive quantities makes kidneys to perform hyperfiltration and kidney damage.
However, protein restriction in case of kidney damage may not be vital for Indians. Dr Vijay Kher says that Indians consume a diet which has comparatively lesser protein than the westerners. "I don't think Indians with kidney ailments need that kind of protein restriction like the westerners," he explains.
Elaborating on his stance, he adds, "Indians are not heavy protein takers. We are vegetarians by and large and even our non-vegetarian counterparts don't consume protein in that high quantity. We are chapatti eaters with more curry as compared to meat. But unfortunately, when patients develop kidney diseases, doctors tell them to restrict their protein intake. And by the time patients reach the stage of dialysis, they become extremely malnourished."
Dr Vijay suggests that vegetarian patients suffering from kidney damage need not restrict protein in their diet. "Good quality protein in a vegetarian diet comes only from milk products. Wheat, pulses are all poor quality of protein. In fact, there is a need to modify the way we have these proteins. Protein restriction leads to malnutrition, which increases outcomes of anything that we do to kidney patients," he says.
(Dr Vijay Kher is Chairman, Kidney and Urology Institute, Fortis Escorts)
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