Stop that Kidney Damage !

The kidneys are two fist shaped organs and they are located on each side of the spine.
Kidneys play an important role in our body functioning. They act as filters, flush out toxins from the body and maintain the acid, alkaline balance in the body. Kidney trouble leads to water retention, swelling, oedema and affects quality of life.

Kidney Disease
Kidney Damage

It is very difficult to detect kidney damage till the last stage as kidneys can continue to function well even when they are 80% damaged, which leads to discovery when the patient has reached end stage kidney disease post which dialysis followed by kidney transplant is the only option

Are there any habits that damage the kidneys every day?

Even though we barely realise it, some of our daily habits contribute to kidney damage. Below is a list of some common habits, taking care of which can help us, prevent the damage to our kidneys.

Being a Pill Popper : Popping medicines without prescription or medicine abuse is dangerous for the kidney and can lead to a condition called rhabdomyolysis which is defined as a breakdown of muscle tissues that releases a damaging protein into the bloodstream – causing it to be transported to the kidneys and in turn, damaging the kidneys causing a need for dialysis.

Drinking too much Soda : 2 cans a day is too much ?According to a study presented in the kidney week in 2013, two cans of soda are enough to cause damage to your kidneys. Researchers from a leading university in Japan divided participants into three groups- one that drinks a can of soda a day, one that drinks two cans of soda a day, and one that does not drink soda. The results were startling – by the end of three years, more than 10% people from the second group developed a disease called proteinuria – a disease that may lead to End Stage Kidney disease.

Eating too much salt : Loading up on too much salt in our diet leads to excess of sodium in our body. Sodium is one of the most abundant elements on earth and is one of the main constituents of salt. However, in high amounts sodium causes kidney damage. This is because kidneys cannot eliminate excess fluid and sodium from the body. The built up sodium and fluid causes high blood pressure which in turn reduces kidney function.

Protein overload : Although protein intake is a must as proteins are the building blocks, a very high protein diet may cause a decline in kidney function in people especially with declining kidney function or kidney disease as the body may not be able to eliminate all the waste products of protein metabolism.

Not drinking enough water : Not drinking enough water also leads to kidney damage. Drinking enough water not only prevents kidney stones but also urinary tract infection because kidney stones are prevented from sticking to together in the presence of hydration while water helps dissolve the antibiotics used to treat UTI’s which makes it more effective in treatment. It also helps the kidneys flush out more toxins and infection causing bacteria by producing more urine.

Not exercising enough : Lack of exercise, promotes kidney damage while exercising increases mobility and circulation in the body causing more absorption and reabsorption by the kidneys; thus, increasing renal function.

Smoking : It promotes kidney damage because increases blood pressure, reduces blood flow to the kidneys, narrows the blood vessels in the kidneys by doubling the endothelium cells in the vessels, and accelerates loss of kidney function. According to statistics, smoking is a cause that can lead to end stage renal disease.

Lack of Magnesium in our diet: High magnesium levels in the body help prevent kidney stones, by preventing the formation of calcium oxalate. This is because kidney stones are formed by the binding of calcium onto oxalate; however, high levels of magnesium cause it to compete with calcium and bind to the oxalate instead – preventing the same.

Not getting enough sleep : Researchers from Brigham and the women’s hospital in Boston evaluated thousands of women and concluded that lack of sleep has a direct correlation with declining kidney function. It has also been suggested that less sleep changes the physiology of the kidney causing kidney damage.

Drinking too much Coffee : Caffeine is a stimulant which increases blood pressure causing more pressure on the kidneys. According to a study in 2002, long term caffeine consumption resulted in kidney failure in obese and diabetics – causing people to conclude that caffeine results in kidney damage.

Holding your pee for too long also affects the kidneys and leads to kidney damage.

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Holding up your Pee for long ?

What are the long term implications of holding your pee ?

Most of us often end up, holding going to the washroom off and on. But do we realise, the long term damage that happens in the process ?

Holding your pee can lead to enlarged prostate, problems with urinary bladder, even kidney disorder

When we feel the urge to urinate, the process involves coordination between muscles, organs and nerves.

When your bladder is half full, it activates the nerves in your bladder which then signal your brain to give you the urge to urinate. The brain then signals the bladder to hold on. Holding your pee for long involves consciously fighting the brain signal to urinate.

When we hold on to the pee for long, the urine can back flow into the ureter into the kidneys and lead to a urinary tract infection in the bladder or the urethra. The infection can then travel to the kidney and lead to kidney infection and even kidney disease.

When treated in time, simple antibiotics can cure UTI’s.
Untreated bladder infections may lead to more severe problems such as bacterial blood stream infections which may cause sepsis, also kidney disorders and subsequent damage which over time may lead to dialysis followed by kidney transplant.

Holding pee for long also weakens the bladder muscles and leads to urinary retention, where the bladder doesn’t get emptied and one has to urinate very often.

Other problems include enlarged prostate, weak pelvic muscles, inflammation of the bladder walls, pain in lower abdomen which does not go away, incontinence and kidney failure.

 

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What causes CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease)

The two main causes are diabetes and high blood pressure.

In India , the incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure is going up and thus kidney disease is on the rise. The key to preventing kidney disease in these conditions is to have meticulous control over blood sugar and blood pressure.

Other conditions that affect the kidneys are:

Glomerulonephritis, a group of disease that causes inflammation and damage to the kidneys
Inherited diseases (that run in the family)
Lupus and other auto immune diseases
Kidney stones
Chronic kidney infections
Drugs like painkillers and some antibiotics