It is estimated that around twenty million Americans suffer from some type of kidney disease, and millions more are at a potential risk for developing kidney disease.
Damage to the kidneys isn’t something that happens in a matter of hours or days. It is a gradual process with damage accumulating in the span of several years resulting from poor dietary and lifestyle habits as well as improper treatment of developing diseases like diabetes.
Several studies have shown that picking up poor habits worsens the condition even more. Scientists have concluded that those who acquired four or five poor lifestyle and dietary habits, had their risk of developing a type of chronic kidney disease grow by as much as 340% in comparison to those who had less bad habits or didn’t have them at all. In this article we present to you a list of the 10 most dangerous habits:
Smoking has a very negative effect on blood pressure. It also increases cardiovascular risk because it increases the heart rate, tightens the kidney blood vessels, damages artery branches and can cause arteriosclerosis in renal arteries. All of these factors combine contribute greatly to increasing the risk of kidney damage.
Smoking is even more dangerous for people suffering from diabetes since it increases the likelihood of developing kidney issues. Smokers are at a higher risk of losing the proper function of their kidneys than non-smokers. However, quitting can make a significant reduction of any risks in the future.
2. Holding It In
If you are holding it in when you really need to go you put your kidneys under intense strain and if you do it regularly it’s even worse. The call of nature is supposed to be answered as soon as possible and keeping the urine can put the kidneys under serious stress and make them keep the toxins that they should be getting rid of.
In the long term, this can develop into incontinence and kidney stones and can damage the kidneys in many other ways.
3. Eating too many sweets
Eating sweets in excess, like candy, desserts, snacks, chocolate or soda is most definitely bad for the kidneys. Several studies have found that eating too much fructose can increase uric acid levels which can increase the risk of developing a cardiorenal disease.
Diabetes patients are already highly subject to developing kidney issues and having a diet rich in sugar can make it even worse. That’s why one should always read the nutrition labels and choose foods that have low amounts of sugar and high amounts of fiber.
4. Not keeping an eye on your blood pressure
It is imperative that you monitor your blood pressure because hypertension can have an extremely negative impact on your kidney health. Always keep to the levels recommended by your physician and ensure that you control high blood pressure. The level is usually under 140/90 mm Hg.
5. Not sticking with the right medication dose
Following your doctor’s recommendations when it comes to prescribed medication is a very important thing. Some meds have the potential to cause kidney damage if they are taken improperly or aren’t monitored closely. If the doctor has prescribed a set dose for a set duration, you should only take it for that amount of time and no more.
Over the counter pain meds like ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen can all cause serious damage to the kidneys if you take them regularly every day. Specific antibiotics like amphotericin B, bacitracin, aminoglycosides, cephalosporins and vancomycin can also pose a serious threat if you are prone to kidney disease.
6. Not exercising enough
Exercising is beneficial for blood circulation and can aid you in managing certain issues like diabetes and blood pressure. People who are overweight can ease their hearts’ job by exercising a lot more and sweating off the excess fat.
As several studies have shown, fat loss has a positive impact on kidney function in those who are dramatically overweight. For all others, exercising can help maintain the cardiovascular system in optimal shape.
7. Eating the wrong food
Choosing healthy foods doesn’t necessarily mean that you are eating properly when you are experiencing kidney issues. If the kidneys are already under strain, you will inevitably need to introduce some changes in your dietary habits. The doctor will most probably suggest choosing foods that have less phosphorus and potassium.
This change means that foods that were usually deemed “bad” like white bread, white rice or pasta have suddenly become a good dietary choice. So, let’s make a list of what you should eat and shouldn’t.
Things you shouldn’t eat: whole grain wheat that has high amounts of phosphorus, phosphorus-rich nuts, bran cereals, oatmeal, lentils, meat, fish and poultry, colas, veggies and fruits like potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, and bananas.
Things you should eat: a lot of fresh veggies and fruits like peaches, apples, carrots and beans, rice milk, rice-based cereals, and corn. You should also make sure you eat moderate levels of protein.
Plus, protein coming from plants, fish and chicken place less of a burden on the kidneys. Foods that are good for your heart are also a good idea since they can help you control your weight, blood pressure and diabetes. Some compounds like vitamin B6 and magnesium can help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
8. Excessive alcohol intake
Kidneys are the main filters of toxins and harmful compounds, including alcohol. That’s why, when you consume alcohol in excess, you put them under a lot of strain. Drinking heavily and regularly will cause tremendous damage to the kidneys.
Alcohol dehydrates you and drinking it in excess can cause the organs to also become dehydrated, thus reducing their performance. It is also one of the main causes of liver diseases, which interferes with blood flow regulation to the kidneys.
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9. Eating too much salt
Consuming high amounts of sodium, either in the form of cooking salt or through foods you weren’t aware of contained high sodium quantities, always has the potential to cause problems and eventually – kidney damage, especially in those people who are prone to hypertension.
Many junk foods, canned foods, snacks and all kinds of packaged foods have high quantities of sodium, that’s why it’s advised that you cut the bulk of these foods. Always choose fresh fruits and veggies, nuts or protein shakes. Cut down sodium consumption to below 2,200 mg per day.
10. Getting dehydrated
Kidneys have the need of adequate and constant flow of water in order to function properly. Proper hydration is key to helping your kidney get rid of the toxins in your body effectively. The National Kidney Foundation recommends proper hydration as one of the nine things people should do if they want to have healthy kidneys. Dehydration is often mentioned as one of the primary causes of kidney damage and the formation of kidney stones.
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