How to Take Care of our Kidneys

We all love to eat and drink but not everything that we take in is essential to our health. Our anatomy is so wonderfully made that it has its own waste disposal system.  Our kidneys make up an extremely sophisticated waste disposable system that works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. After food has been digested and sorted, these nutrients enter the bloodstream and are used by the body for energy, growth, repair and maintenance of body functions.

Nutrients not immediately needed by the body, along with waste products and extra water are removed by the kidneys and passed on the the bladder to be excreted as urine. The kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood and about 2 quarts become waste products and extra water everyday. 

Aside from waste waste disposal, the kidneys also keep the proper balance of salts and acid in the body. They also produce hormones and enzymes that help make red blood cells to maintain blood composition and blood levels, control our blood pressure and maintain strong and healthy bones. So much work for such small organs. 

Most people are born with two kidneys, and both are designed to last for a lifetime. People can live a near normal life with as little as 20 percent of their total kidney function, that’s why kidney problem are hardly noticeable. Kidney diseases are often considered as ‘silent diseases’ as there are often very few symptoms. Sometimes, 90% of kidney functions have been lost by a patient before experiencing any of the following symptoms:

Localisation of pain caused by kidney stones
If your experience pain on the darkened areas, then you might have a kidney condition. See your doctor immediately.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • change in frequency and quantity of urine passed; foaming urine; pain or burning when passing urine; and blood in the urine
  • puffiness around the eyes and ankles
  • pain in the back (under the lower ribs where the kidneys are located)
  • constant feeling of fatigue even if a patient has slept for full 8 hours
  • nausea, dizziness and vomiting
  • anemia
  • itchy skin
  • shortness of breath
If you are feeling any of these symptoms, then immediately consult a doctor and have  some tests done. The earlier kidney problems are detected, the more manageable it will be.Normally, ample water intake and a healthy balanced diet are enough to keep your kidneys running well, but it wouldn’t hurt if you proactively start taking care of your kidneys by:
Be extra careful if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. Two of  the leading causes of kidney diseases are diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Too much glucose in the blood damages the millions of nephrons (the tiny filtering units) within each kidney. Statistics shows that people with diabetes develop kidney disease with higher risks the longer the person has had diabetes.
  • High blood pressure can damage the small blood vessels in the kidneys, which will prevent them from filtering wastes from the blood as they are supposed to.
Carefully watching what you take in.
  • Lessen your meat consumption.  A diet high in animal protein predisposes you to the formation of calcium stones. Meat generates uric acid after it  is processed by the body, which could lead to stone formation and gout.
  • Increase your consumption of  plant-based foods. A diet high in fruits and vegetables allows the body system to alkalinize via the kidneys and  lowers blood pressure too.
  • Decrease salt intake. Too much salt in your diet can lead to abnormal calcium build-ups in the blood which can produce kidney stones and  the same  time may cause high blood pressure. Try to get pure sea salt instead of regular table salt.
  • Moderate your consumption of alcohol. Too much alcohol in your body  will make your kidneys work harder to remove toxins from your blood,Moderate consumption is two bottles at  the most a day.
  • Drink water.  Water helps your kidneys wash out toxins and prevents formation of kidney stones. It doesn’t mean though, that you should take water in one gulp, it is always better to drink small amounts of water throughout the day.
  • Cut down on caffeine.  Caffeine is a diuretic and may cause dehydration, making the kidneys work harder to wash out toxins.
Quitting the habit of smoking. Smoking causes changes in the artery linings which can cause uses inflammation which affects the blood supply to the kidneys putting excessive and unnecessary pressure on them. The nicotine in cigarettes also increases a person’s heart rate and blood pressure.
Exercise. Being physically active improves physical function, helps control weight and reduces the chance of developing other diseases. Although if you have a known kidney condition, consult your doctor first for appropriate exercise programs to avoid stressing your kidneys as you exercise. Walking, light yoga or gardening may be ideal.

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