Did you know that you can live a pretty normal life with only 20% of your kidney function? That is why a steady decline and gradual damage to your kidneys can often go unnoticed for a long time. Sometimes, even common habits can cause damage to your kidneys and when the problems are finally discovered, it can be too late. Getting rid of unhealthy habits and developing healthier habits is your first action to improve your health, and is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
Our kidneys are an amazing organ. They produce hormones, filter blood, absorb minerals, produce urine and maintain a healthy acid-alkaline balance. There is no life without the kidneys, and the Chinese view them as the seat of essential life energy.
Looking after your kidneys goes hand in hand with looking after your health and well-being. If you want your kidneys to thrive and serve you well for the foreseeable future, here is a list of habits you should avoid:
1. The Sugary Soda Habit – A study carried out on employees at Osaka University in Japan suggested that drinking two or more soda drinks a day (diet or regular) may be connected with a higher risk of kidney disease. 12,000 employees were included in the study, and those that consumed larger amounts of soda were more likely to have protein in their urine. Protein in urine (proteinuria) is an early sign of kidney damage, but, when discovered at that stage, the disease can still be reversible.
2. Smoking – Smoking has been linked to arthrosclerosis. The narrowing and hardening of blood vessels affects the blood supply to all vital organs, including the kidneys. According to the study published inClinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, two cigarettes a day are enough to double the number of endothelial cells present in your blood. This is a signal of arterial damage. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology cites many different studies conducted since 2003 which all link smoking to decreased kidney function.
Further reading: smoking is one of the bad habits mentioned in my previous article about 10 habits to stop right now if you want to be healthy.
3. Vitamin B6 deficiency – A healthy diet is important for good kidney function. According to the studies performed at the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin B6 deficiency increases your risk of kidney stones. For optimal kidney function, you should consume at least 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B6 daily. The richest sources of this vitamin include fish, chickpeas, beef liver, potatoes and starchy vegetables, and non-citrus fruits.
4. Lack of exercise – Exercise is another good way to protect your kidneys. A large study published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggested that postmenopausal women who exercised had 31% lower risk of developing kidney stones. Generally speaking, maintaining a healthy weight will reduce your chances of kidney stones, so get moving.
Further reading: Read my article about how to treat kidney stones naturally.
5. Magnesium deficiency – If you don’t get enough magnesium, calcium can’t get properly absorbed and assimilated, which can result in calcium overload and kidney stone formation. To prevent that, consume green leafy vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts. The mighty avocado is a good source of magnesium as well.
Further reading: Find here the top signs that you have magnesium deficiency and what to do about it.
6. Frequent sleep disruption – We all like a good night’s sleep. And so do our kidneys. Science Dailyreports that chronic sleep disruption can cause kidney disease. According to Dr. Michael Sole, Cardiologist and founding director of the Peter Munk Cardiac Center and Professor of Medicine and Physiology at the University of Toronto, kidney tissue gets renewed during the night, so sleep interruptions can cause direct damage to this organ.
Further reading: find 23 dangers of sleep deprivation in my previous article.
7. Not drinking enough water – Our kidneys need to get properly hydrated to perform their functions. If we don’t drink enough, the toxins can start accumulating in the blood, as there isn’t enough fluid to drain them through the kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation suggests drinking at least 12 glasses of water per day. An easy way to see if you’re drinking enough is to check the color of your urine.
Further reading: Find here the best foods and herbs to cleanse your kidneys. If you are interested to learn more about herbs and on how to use them to treat common ailments then you should read my e-book “Herbal Remedies Guide“.
8. Not emptying your bladder early – When nature calls, you should listen. Retaining urine in your bladder is a bad idea. If done on regular basis, it can increase the urine pressure in your kidneys and lead to renal failure or incontinence.
9. Consuming too much sodium – Salt is important for the body, but you should limit your intake. Over consumption can raise your blood pressure and put too much strain on the kidneys. No more than 5.8 grams of salt should be eaten daily, so take it easy with that salt shaker.
Further reading: Read my article about different types of salt and their benefits.
10. Consuming too much caffeine – We often consume more caffeine than we think we do. It features in many soft drinks and sodas, and before you know it, your blood pressure goes through the roof and your kidneys start complaining.
11. Pain-killer abuse – Way too often we take medications too fast, in too big doses and not in the right way. When pain occurs, it’s so easy to just swallow the pill. But, you should think twice. All pharmaceutical drugs come with side effects, and many cause damage to the kidneys. Having said that, there are some drugs that you should be taking. See the next point.
12. Missing your drugs – High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are two very common conditions that are often brought on by our life style and unhealthy diet. If you already have them, be aware of the damage they can cause to your kidneys and protect your precious organs by taking the prescribed medications.
Further reading: read my articles about the best 12 foods to control diabetes and how to reduce high blood pressure naturally.
13. Too much protein – According to Harvard University, too much protein in your diet can harm the kidneys. The by product of protein digestion is ammonia – a toxin your hard-working kidneys need to neutralize. More protein means more effort for the kidneys, which can, over time, lead to decreased function.
14. Not treating common infections quickly and properly – We are all guilty of sometimes ignoring simple colds and flu, and pushing our bodies to the brink of exhaustion. But that can cause kidney damage. Studies have shown that people who are reluctant to rest and heal properly, often end up with kidney disease.
Further reading: Find here top 10 natural treatments for cold and flu.
15. Too much alcohol consumption – The toxins found in alcohol not only damage the liver, but also your kidneys. According to Kidney Health Australia and American Kidney Fund, one way to avoid kidney disease is to drink alcohol in moderation.
Early Signs of Kidney Disease & How to Protect Your Kidneys
Kidney disease is a serious medical issue with an unfortunate prevalence in our society. Without use of these organs, waste will pile up and pollute our bodies. Research has shown that over 20 million individuals in the United States exhibit some level of dysfunction with their kidneys. Certain factors such as blood pressure and insulin sensitivity can make you even more likely to be part of the 20% of people affected by this disease.
The Importance of Kidneys
Kidneys are kind of like the custodial staff of the body – except without their custodial effort you can’t live. They are made to function in several ways to ensure the healthy function of your internal processes. The small organs filter out any harmful waste and excess toxins while balancing blood pressure and essential nutrients.
Without kidneys our bodies wouldn’t be able to:
- Keep water and essential minerals balanced in the bloodstream.
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure.
- Extract chemicals and waste that come from the digestion process, taking medication, and physical exertion.
- Activate vitamin D for healthy bones.
- Increase the production of red blood cells to deliver oxygen through the body.
Even bodily processes that seem healthy like metabolic function produce waste products that are harmful for the body. Risk factors surround us and happen regularly within our own body, but with our kidneys at work we don’t have to worry about them.
What Causes Kidney Disease
As mentioned earlier, some diseases can serve as a predisposition for kidney disease. Diabetes and blood pressure issues are the top contributors to this health issue. If you have a high blood pressure stay mindful of the possibility of kidney problems in the future. When you visit the doctor keep a close watch over your blood sugar and blood pressure levels and ask the physician if they are normal.
Kidney disease can also be passed on through genetic issues. If your family has a history of autoimmune disease or polycystic kidney disease you are more vulnerable to kidney problems in the future. Birth defects and improper use of medication can cause to kidney damage. Harmful habits like drinking, smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise can also contribute.
Early Signs of Kidney Disease
The trouble with kidney disease is that many people fail to act upon the issue until the condition has become severe. The symptoms can be a tad general in the early phase, allowing someone to simply brush them off or associate them with some other illness. Your kidneys also have a great ability to adapt to the disease as they lose function. The following symptoms will appear in the early stage of kidney disease and slowly worsen over time.
- Feeling easily tired and experiencing a lack of strength
- Changes in urination, such as blood in the urine or changes in the amount and number of times urine is passed
- Troubles with sleeping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Irregularities in the digestive routine
- Disinterest in eating food and bad metallic taste in the mouth
- Lack of focus and mental clarity
- Swollen ankles or feet
- Pain above the waist in the back of the body (where the kidneys are)
- Muscle spasms and cramping
- Unstable blood pressure
- Loss of breath
- Skin rash or chronic itching
Detecting these signs early on is essential. If kidney problems aren’t addressed early on, then the damage can quickly become irreversible. Nobody wants to have to struggle through the misfortune of dialysis and treatment for the disease.
If you exhibit some of these symptoms or worry that you might have a vulnerability to kidney issues consult a physician immediately. The symptoms are fairly general so there is a chance they could be from some other illness. It’s never too safe to be sure, and the sooner you tackle kidney disease the better.
How to Strengthen Your Kidneys
Looking after your kidneys is one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health. A few small changes in your everyday life can lead to a life-saving difference down the road. These five changes to your lifestyle and nutrition will reduce your risk of disease by protecting your kidneys.
1. Blood pressure plays a big part in kidney function. Keeping yours at a healthy level (around 130/80) will help reduce damage to the kidneys. Find here more information how to reduce high blood pressure naturally.
2. Smoking and drinking should be avoided because they wreak havoc on your kidneys.
3. Get active with more exercise. It will strengthen your entire body and give you more energy to love life. It will help you to keep optimal body weight and reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes and hypertension, that can reduce kidney functioning over time.
4. Consider supplements that provide calcium and vitamin D if you feel you don’t get enough on a daily basis. Always consult with your doctor before taking them.
5. Limit using painkillers and steroids and only when you feel they are absolutely necessary. Overuse of them can lead to kidney damage. Try instead to use these top 22 natural painkillers.
1. Stay mindful of your sodium intake. Keep the salt and potassium you ingest at a moderate level.
2. Maintain a healthy nutrition. Eat meals with small amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. You can find more information about healthy eating and nutrition in my e-book Effortless Healthy Eating which is part of the Natural Health Revolution Program. This program will help you to achieve your health, nutrition or weight loss goals.
3. Maintain low protein diet. Too much protein is bad for the kidneys. Ask your physician how much you should eat daily according to your body type.
4. A sufficient amount of calories is necessary for the kidneys, so starving yourself for weight loss isn’t a great idea.
5. Watermelons, apples and berries are among the foods that should be at the top of your grocery list – find more information in my article about the best foods and herbs to cleanse your kidneys.
6. Stay hydrated. Drink about 8 glasses of fluid, preferable water, every day.
Kidney disease is a sobering reality that plagues thousands of families every single year. Damage to the kidneys can’t be repaired but it can be lived with if detected early enough – though prevention is the best choice. Taking responsibility for your own health isn’t just for yourself. It’s for the friends and family you treasure and the impact your life can have on the world when it is lived to the fullest.