The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, located against the back muscles in the upper abdominal cavity just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine.
The kidneys detoxify the blood and aid the body in filtering out waste products through urine
Another primary function of the kidneys is to remove excess water from the body. They also help retain water when the body needs more.
Moreover, the kidneys help regulate the levels of minerals like calcium and phosphate in the body. They also produce important hormones that help regulate body functions like blood pressure and making of red blood cells to carry oxygen and important nutrients throughout the body.
To stay healthy, it is essential to keep the kidneys functioning properly. Some common symptoms that can indicate kidney problems or a change in color and quantity of your 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.
Insufficient Water Intake
Not drinking an ample amount of water can also cause huge damage to your kidneys. The main function of the kidneys is to flush out metabolic waste from the body and regulate erythrocyte production.
When the body lacks sufficient water, there is less blood flow to the kidneys because the blood becomes concentrated. This hampers the kidneys’ ability to eliminate toxins from the body, and more toxins in the body means more health problems.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, a healthy adult must drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of fluid daily to keep the kidneys healthy and the body well hydrated. However, keep in mind that drinking too much water can also be hard on your kidneys. So, do not overdo it.
Consuming Too Much Coffee
Too much caffeine consumption can cause high blood pressure, which in turn will put a strain on your kidneys. Over time, this can damage your kidneys.
In fact, according to a 2002 study published in Kidney International, caffeine consumption has a strong connection with kidney stones. Caffeine can increase calcium excretion in urine.
Caffeine in moderate amounts will not cause health problems for most people. You can drink 1 to 2 cups of coffee, 3 cups of tea per day. Also, limit your intake of other sources of caffeine like soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, cocoa and some medications.
High Salt Consumption
Regularly eating too much salt can also cause huge damage to your kidneys as well as other health problems. The kidneys metabolize 95 percent of the sodium consumed through food.
When salt intake is high, the kidneys need to work harder to excrete the excess salt. This in turn can lead to decreased kidney function, causing water retention in the body. Water retention can cause a hike in blood pressure and increase the risk of developing kidney disease.
Studies have also shown that salt intake increases the amount of urinary protein, one of the major risk factors for developing kidney disease.
The recommended amount of salt is no more than 5 grams a day. More than this amount is harmful for your kidneys as well as your overall health. 1 teaspoon of salt is about 6 grams.
Drinking Excessive Alcohol
Drinking in moderation is fine, but excessive drinking can cause significant damage to your kidneys. Alcohol is a toxin that puts a lot of stress on your kidneys and liver.
When you drink alcoholic beverages in high amounts, it causes uric acid to be deposited in renal tubules, leading to tubular obstruction. This in turn increases the risk of kidney failure. Moreover, alcohol causes dehydration and disrupts the normal functioning of the kidneys.
If you like to drink, then do it in moderation. A healthy amount is generally considered 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women and older people.
Lack of Sleep
Due to busy lifestyles, many people ignore the importance of sleep. Sound sleep of 6 to 8 hours daily is important for your overall health.
During the night when you sleep, renewal of organ tissues occurs. Therefore, when you do not get a sound sleep, this interrupts the renewal process, resulting in damage to the kidneys and other organs.
Studies also suggest that sleepless nights may cause high blood pressure and more atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries). This in turn increases your risk of kidney disease.
Try to adopt healthy sleeping habits and maintain a good balance between work and rest. This will greatly help protect your kidneys from health issues and allow you to live a healthy life.