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Kidney Killing Habits

I am willing to bet that all of us, at some point, worked so hard on something in order to avoid the chances of failure.

Whether it was studying so hard on a Math test, working 10 times harder at work to get the promotion you deserve, or doing things that will prevent you from getting sick.

But in this case, I’m talking about how some people do the necessary things to keep their kidneys from getting worse.

Just like studying, you can’t help but veer away from all the books and notes piled up one after the other in front of you. Sometimes, you just want to take a break and maybe watch some television. But then 2 hours later, you still find yourself sitting in front of the screen. And why does that happen?

One word: distraction.

Distractions are inevitable; it’s what keeps people from doing what they were supposed to do in the first place.

In a way, this situation is also applicable to our kidneys.

We have things that distract us from taking good care of our health. Some of them, believe it or not, have become our habits already.

Truth be told, there's still no way to reverse kidney damage. Add to that, the steady decline of the kidneys can often go undetected, which is why kidney diseases are labeled as "Silent Killers".

Here are the 10 habits that can cause serious damage to the kidneys. Changing them might help you improve your kidney function. Pay close attention because maybe one or, God forbid, all of these habits could be familiar to you.

1. Lack of water intake

The most important and basic kidney function is to filter blood and eliminate the toxins and waste materials in the body. If your water intake is not enough during the day, the toxins and wastes starts to store that could lead to damaging your body.

The common advice is to drink about 6-8 glasses of water daily, but if you are already diagnosed with CKD, your doctor may suggest a new limit for you, depending on your CKD stage. Best advice I can give for now; listen to your doctor's recommendations.

2. Too much salt in your diet

If your salt consumption is too high, it increases the amount of urinary protein, which could lead to the development of kidney diseases. Furthermore, it may raise your blood pressure and put a lot of stress on your kidneys.

Advice: limit your daily salt/sodium intake to 1500 mg of salt.

Bonus advice: a single strip of bacon already has 137 mg of sodium in it, so try to stay away from it from now on. 

3. Delaying the call of nature

When we find ourselves too busy doing something, we often delay or even ignore the call of nature. Or, when we're outside, we sometimes just don’t want to use public restrooms as much as possible.

If you keep allowing yourself to do this on a regular basis, it increases urine pressure in your bladder and kidneys, and this will eventually lead to kidney failure and kidney stones. So when nature calls, you must answer it.

4. Sleep deprivation

I'm just saying this ahead: all those late-nights you spent when you were younger are taking their toll on your body now.

Did you know that when you sleep, your body repairs damaged tissues? Organs start to regenerate and replace their damaged tissues while your body is at rest, and that includes your kidneys.

And so, if you don’t get enough rest at night, you’re not allowing your body to heal and repair itself as it should. Always get the good night's sleep you deserve!

5. Use of analgesics

Analgesics (or analgaesics) are medicine/drugs that give you pain relief. In layman's terms, painkillers. They also often reduce fever and inflammation.

Apparently, though, these drugs, when taken excessively, can damage different organs of the body, including the kidneys. It can also reduce the blood flow and deteriorate kidney functions.

So, as much as possible, try to keep from taking these drugs so much, and opt for more organic/herbal solutions.

6. Coffee intake

Ah, coffee. A staple part of a typical household breakfast.

According to Zagat Blog's third-annual National Coffee Survey results, an average American drinks about 2.1 cups of coffee a day. That's about 16 ounces of coffee every day (more than 470ml).

But, unfortunately, like salt, caffeine also raises blood pressure. Excessive consumption of caffeine can add more stress and cause disruptions to your already-disrupted kidney functions.

You may love the taste, as much as the smell, of fresh coffee, but at least make sure you don’t drink more than one cup of coffee a day.

7. Alcohol intake

According to the National Kidney Foundation, part of the kidneys' main function, aside from filtering your body's wastes, is to regulate water in your systems. The rate of blood flow to your kidneys is usually kept at a certain level, too, so that your kidneys can filter your blood well.

However, excessive intake of alcohol can disrupt this balance, leading stress on the kidneys and the liver. Taking in too much alcohol dehydrates the body.

As a guideline, remember this: having more than 3-4 drinks a day (or about 7-14 per week) is already considered heavy drinking. So, if you can, lay low from drinking alcohol. 

8. High protein diet

Although protein is good for the health, overconsumption of this nutrient will make you more likely to develop kidney disease.

The kidneys are in-charge of metabolizing and excreting nitrogen from protein digestion. By taking in too much protein, the metabolic load of the kidneys increase by increasing the glomerular pressure and hyper filtration, which gets your kidneys into overdrive and causes problems.

What I'm saying is: you have to limit your red meat intake. 

9. Smoking cigarettes

Cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.

This statement is almost impossible not to hear or read. I’ll spare you the “Smoking is bad, you should stop” lecture, because it really is.

According to the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), smoking is a factor behind End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). That's because it increases heart blood, blood pressure, reduces blood flow, and tightens the blood vessels of the kidneys. In turn, it accelerates the loss of kidney functions and worsens any existing kidney diseases.

If you have this habit, then I suggest you start thinking hard on quitting.

10. Overlooking common infections

If ever you find yourself sick with tonsillitis, pharyngitis, flu, even coughs and colds, you have to treat it directly. If not, you may develop kidney damage.

"Patients who come to the ICU with critical illness who also have kidney injury stay longer, take up more resources and have a much higher chance of dying," said Dr. Manish M. Sood, associate scientist of the Clinical Epidemiology Program of Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, on a study conducted during the H1N1 influenza A epidemic in 2010.

So when you get sick, contact your doctor, get enough rest and consume antibiotics properly.

If you have these habits, you have to consider changing them. But you don’t have to get rid of them all at once because chances are, you will only fail in doing so. Just take your time and change one after the other.

Remember, if you are able to take control of your habits, you can take control of your life as well.

You could start with your path to kidney dieting with a FREE kidney coaching session!

Click the orange button below and get a chance to talk 1-on-1 with a health coach to help you with changing your bad habits into good ones for you and your kidneys' health!