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10 Common Habits That Can Damage Your Kidneys

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Do you know that you could be on the verge of damaging your Kidneys right now? I’m sure that got your attention ?. Well, you might be young and agile, drink a healthy amount of water daily, eat healthily, look absolutely stunning, and think you’re in perfect health. But deep down in those bean-shaped organs, something could be going terribly wrong and you’re completely unaware. Do you know you could be at risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease, a disease of the kidneys, that often leads to renal failure?

Damn! Chronic Kidney Disease.

Chronic kidney disease
Photo of a damaged kidney

According to reports, the symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease are easily misunderstood because they develop slowly and could be symptoms of other less-threatening conditions. Surprisingly, some people are out there who show no symptoms at all, and they live with this disease for years until it becomes too late. That’s the reason why statistics show that Chronic kidney disease causes more deaths than prostate cancer or breast cancer.

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Think of it as the under-recognized public health crisis that refused to ‘blow‘ and get popular because the public is a lot more concerned about the Covid-19, Ebola, AIDS, and other diseases. According to kidney.org, Chronic Kidney Disease affects about 37 million people in the U.S. and more than 1 person in every 7 adults have the disease. Shockingly, 1 in every 3 persons is at risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease. My goal is not to scare you or drive you insane (Okay, maybe a little?), but in this article, I’ll be sharing with you 10 habits that can potentially damage your kidneys if you don’t stop them.

What Are The Kidneys?

10 Common Habits That Could Damage Your Kidneys

I know, everyone should know this already, but for those who aren’t sure, the Kidneys are vital organs in our bodies, and I definitely would not have been able to type this article if both my Kidneys were dysfunctional. Resembling two super-sizes beans that fell off Jack’s 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 that are by-products of metabolic reactions in the body.  The kidneys are so precious and yet so expensive to replace when they fail due to one reason or the other. It’s a no-brainer why many people (especially ladies) are more than willing to trade one of their Kidneys for a million U.S. dollars just to enjoy a few luxuries of life, which by the way, is a terrible move!!! ?‍♂️

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The big question is, what if your kidneys were to go bad and fail? Kidney disease is one of the most expensive to manage. Each year, so many people die from kidney-related diseases all over the world, and the number of people suffering from renal failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive is on the increase. Statistics have it that worldwide, millions of patients are waiting for kidney transplants, but only a few thousand will receive these transplants because of the shortage of suitable organ donors.

People are usually surprised when they are diagnosed with Kidney failure. However, experts have been able to link chronic kidney disease and renal failure to years of practicing certain dangerous habits.

Without further ado, here are the 10 everyday habits that can lead to potential Kidney damage.

1. Not Emptying Your Bladder Early

10 Common Habits That Could Damage Your Kidneys

Maintaining a full bladder for a long time is a quick way to cause 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 cause 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

10 Common Habits That Could Damage Your Kidneys

The main functions of the kidneys are to regulate Erythrocyte (red blood cells) 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

10 Common Habits That Could Damage Your Kidneys

The kidneys metabolize 95% of the sodium we consume through food. 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 edema (swelling). Edema usually elevates blood pressure and increases the risk of damaging the kidneys. The daily salt intake should be controlled within 6g per day.

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4. Not Treating Infections Quickly and Properly

10 Common Habits That can Damage Your Kidneys

Common infections, such as pharyngitis, tonsillitis, cold, etc., usually trigger or aggravate 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, assess your kidney functions, and start treatment if compromised.

5. Eating Too Much Meat

10 Common Habits That can Damage Your Kidneys

Eating too much meat and protein can increase the metabolic load of the kidney. So many of us can’t simply resist skewered meat (A.K.A. Suya in West Africa), 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 pathological renal 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

10 Common Habits That can Damage Your Kidneys

This is equally as dangerous as eating too much; both will cause damages to your digestive organs. Mucosal tissues (of the digestive tract) relate closely to your immune system. This is why many kidney failure patients are diagnosed with autoimmune kidney damages.

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7. Painkiller Abuse

10 Common Habits That can Damage Your Kidneys

The use of painkillers (e.g., Paracetamol) for a prolonged duration may reduce the flow of blood and greatly affect kidney function. Also, 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 the 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

10 Common Habits That can Damage Your Kidneys

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

10 Common Habits That can Damage Your Kidneys

Drinking alcohol has never produced any benefit and never will. Drinking without limitations may cause the deposition of uric acid in renal tubules, causing tubular obstruction and increasing risks of kidney failure.

10. Not Resting Enough

10 Common Habits That can Damage Your Kidneys

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 2-5mm/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.

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At the early stage of kidney diseases, there are usually no symptoms, and so many people are not diagnosed until the acute attack appears or the condition develops becomes complex. So you should endeavor 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 color or volume, increase in night urination,  high blood pressure, and other such symptoms. Once found, you should go and see your doctor immediately.

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