Did you know there are things you can do to help your kidneys stay healthy? Your kidneys are important to the overall health of the body. The kidneys’ main function is to filter waste products and excess fluid out of the body. This process of waste filtration allows chemicals in the body to maintain a stable balance. The hormones produced by the kidneys help regulate blood pressure. The kidneys also produce an active form of vitamin D which is important for creating healthy bones. Because of all the essential tasks the kidneys perform you need to take good care of them. Changing these 5 habits can help you avoid kidney damage.
1. Avoid Dehydration and Drink More Water
Dehydration can lead to kidney disease. Drinking lots of water and keeping your body hydrated helps your kidneys function better. Hydration helps keep your blood vessels open so your blood can easily transport nutrients to the kidneys. In addition, the kidneys need water to remove waste products out of the body and keep you healthy. According to the National Kidney Association evidence shows that being well hydrated can reduce your chance of developing kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
So how do I know if I am getting enough water to keep my kidneys running smoothly? The color of your urine is the best indicator of whether or not you are consuming enough water. Your urine should be light yellow or colorless. If it appears darker you are not drinking enough water.
2. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Having one or two alcoholic drinks from time to time will not affect your kidney health; however, overconsumption can. Alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to function properly. This occurs because alcohol causes dehydration. It affects the kidney’s job to keep the right amount of water in the body. Because the human body consists of 60-70% of the water it is important for the body to be adequately hydrated to function properly.
People who consume too much alcohol are likely to have high blood pressure because alcohol consumption affects your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common cause of kidney disease.
3. Limit Your Salt Intake
On average Americans consume 50% more sodium than they need. This is dangerous because a diet high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure over an extended period of time can cause kidney damage. High blood pressure is the leading cause of kidney failure.
The ideal amount of salt you should ingest is approximately one teaspoon a day. To avoid increased salt intake you will want to focus on buying fresh food when you can. Packaged food generally contains more salt. Check the sodium levels on any packaged food you purchase to help you make an informed decision.
4. Stop Smoking
Smoking results in of death 1 in 5 Americas. Smoking causes many different health problems. Your kidneys can be affected by smoking. Smoking slows the blood flood to the kidneys preventing the organs from getting needed nutrients. Smoking also can impact high blood pressure medicine. Smoking can prevent the medicine from doing its job and lowering your blood pressure. High blood pressure, like previously mentioned, can lead to kidney damage and kidney failure.
Even if you are a non-smoker your chances of smoking-related health problems are increased if you reside in a home with a smoker. To reduce your risk factors quitting smoking is a must for your health and your families health.
5. Maintain a Healthy BMI
Why do you need a healthy body mass index to prevent kidney damage? Having a healthy body weight means you will not have an excess of fat in the body. Human beings need some body fat their body for energy and heat insulation; however, risk factors for health problems arise when someone has too much body fat. This is why people who are considered obese or overweight experience a high risk for kidney disease as well as other serious health conditions. Appropriately 70% of Americans over the age of 20 have been labeled overweight which means the majority of adult Americans have a higher risk for kidney disease.
Where you carry your excess weight matters. If you are an apple shaped person and carry your weight around the stomach your risk is higher than a pear shaped person’s risk that carries their weight around the hips. As you waist size grows so does your risk for kidney disease. Your risk for kidney disease increases being overweight because overweight people are more likely to develop high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Two key factors in the development of kidney failure and disease.
Changing the above 5 habits will ensure you are healthier overall and you have less chance of experiencing kidney damage.