Watch out for these bad habits that lead to kidney failure
Kidney diseases do not just affect the elderly and alcoholics. Your lifestyle habits right now can also put you at risk. Watch out for these bad habits that lead to kidney failure
Did you know - any minor imbalance in the functioning of kidneys usually goes undetected owing to lack of any major symptoms and may silently proceed to advanced kidney disease? According to health experts, kidney diseases do not just affect the elderly and alcoholics as your lifestyle habits right now can also put you at risk.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Gaurav Shankar Pandey, Consultant - Dept of Kidney Transplant at Max Super Specialty Hospital in Dehradun, shared, “Not knowing our own history i.e. “Those who ignore history are bound to make the same mistake again and again” is the same for our health. We all should understand that there are some health issues that run within family like diabetes, hypertension including few kidney diseases as well. If we understand the risk associated with these issues, then corrective measures can be taken in a timely manner.” Talking about ignoring our kidney’s cry for help, he said, “Most symptoms associated with failing kidneys are quite vague like weakness, loss of appetite. In fact, in most cases patients already have end stage renal failure at the first presentation to a doctor. Clinical features like swelling of lower limb, froth in urine, progressive loss of appetite, are often ignored by the patient. If someone is experiencing such issues then a doctor's consult is must.”
Cautioning about abusing over the counter medication, he highlighted, “Headaches may lure you to the medicine cabinet for using painkillers on a regular basis, but overusing them can prove dangerous for the kidneys. Excessive consumption of such medicines (NSAIDs) may cause lasing, permanent damage to kidneys. Not having a balanced diet or eating junk food might satisfy our cravings but too much is definitely not be good for our health. Processed foods are rich in sodium and phosphorous excess of which may harm our kidneys. A healthy and balanced diet is the way to go. Diabetes and hypertension are the silent killers. If you are a known case of either of the two or at high risk for the same, then regular monitoring and sticking to the treatment advised by your doctor is of paramount importance. We may not appreciate the seriousness of these disease but nearly 60% of all end stage kidney diseases are caused by these two diseases alone. Moreover, they often involve other organ like eyes and nervous system too.”
Dissuading lack of physical activity, he pointed out, “In current day and age, sedentary lifestyle is associate with a lot of health issues including renal issues. Obesity, in itself is an independent risk factor for diabetes and hypertension. Regular physical exercise improves blood pressure and help regulate metabolism and is extremely important for overall well- being. Substance abuse (smoking and alcohol): Pre-movie advertisement in theaters have shown us that smoking is not good for health. Along with causing cancer, they are also responsible for causing kidney damage and may result in protein in your urine. Quitting smoking can also improve blood pressure. Excessive alcohol intake dehydrates the body and may affect kidneys in doing their job properly. Moreover, chronic alcohol intake may cause liver issues which may further complicate kidney issues.”
According to Dr Siddharth Lakhani, Consultant Nephrologist and Transplant Physician at Fortis Raheja, Jaslok Hospitals, Saifee Hospital, Criticare Asia, SRV and Director of Lakhani Kidney Care in Mumbai, here are a few habits that may harm the kidneys:
1. Eating too much protein - Animal protein generates high amounts of acid in the blood which can cause acidosis, a condition in which kidneys cannot eliminate enough acid, leading to detrimental effects on the organs.
2. Consuming too much salt - Diets high in salt have a lot of sodium, which can increase blood pressure and in time affect the renal function. A study by the San Giovanni Bosco Hospital in Italy found out that too much salt has a direct tissue effect on the kidney, inducing hypertrophy and fibrosis. Too much salt may also cause kidney stones.
3. Overusing painkillers - That continuous headache may lure you to the medicine cabinet for some painkillers on a regular basis, but overusing them can prove dangerous for the kidneys. Yes, they alleviate your aches and pains, but can cause kidney cancer as well. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, long-term use of painkillers increase the risk of kidney cancer by 50%.
4. Eating too much processed food - Processed food might be the answer to all your midnight cravings, but those crispy bits of goodness can actually be pretty harmful for your kidneys. Processed foods are a storehouse of sodium and phosphorus and can lead to kidney disease.
5. Not sleeping enough - If you are tired, please go to sleep. Work can wait till another day. Kidney function is regulated by the sleep-wake cycle which helps coordinate the workload of the organ 24x7. Researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied the sleep habits of women volunteers and found that too little sleep was linked to a more rapid decline in kidney function.
6. Consuming too much alcohol - Not being able to survive without whiskey or wine could spell doom for your kidneys. Studies have found that more than four drinks a day is linked to double the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
7. Not drinking enough water - It is extremely important to drink adequate amounts of water to regulate the flow of fluids in the kidneys. Maintaining proper levels of hydration in the body makes kidneys flush out toxins. Drinking enough water has been listed as an essential requirement for optimum kidney health by the US-based National Kidney Foundations. Also, being deficient in vitamins can result in kidney diseases.
8. Trying to hold it in when you want to pee - If you don't pee when it is nature's call, the body tends to hold the toxins it was supposed to flush. If you do this too often, it can lead to kidney stones.
Dr Puru Dhawan, Ayurvedic kidney expert and Founder of SRIAAS, added to the list and shared:
1. Excessive use of over-the-counter pain medication might become a cause of kidney failure as when these medications are used, it damages the small filtering blood vessels in the kidney that does all the work.
2. Smoking also leads to damage to the kidney as when you smoke, it damages the heart and blood vessels which lead to poor blood flow to the kidney, which eventually damages them over time.
3. Excessive consumption of alcohol makes the kidney incapable of filtering the blood efficiently. It also affects blood pressure and causes a rise in the uric acid generation, which is why it is mandatory to stop or decrease the intake of alcohol.
4. Leading an Inactive lifestyle is one of the major causes of kidney failure as it causes various other diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity which directly affect kidney health.
5. Not drinking adequate water can be very harmful to your kidneys as it can hamper blood circulation and kidneys functions such as waste removal. Low intake of fluid can also lead to kidney stones that can damage the kidney extensively.
6. Not getting enough rest/sleep can cause a decline in kidney function as their function is regulated by our sleep-wake cycle, which coordinates a 24-hour workload. Not getting a proper sleep of 6-8 hours can hinder the kidney's function and its healing process. Not getting enough sleep can also cause high blood pressure that can damage the kidney's filter over time.
7. Excessive use of salt poses a dire threat to the kidneys as its frequent overuse causes excessive sodium buildup that causes hypertension which ultimately damages the filters in the kidney leading to renal failure.
8. Consuming processed and canned food is very dangerous as they contain high levels of sodium, sugar, and phosphorous, which cause problems of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and even cancer, from which few of them lead directly to kidney damage or failure.
9. High blood pressure is one of the major leading causes of kidney failure as it causes the blood vessels to constrict and narrow down, which eventually damages and weakens the kidney's blood vessels leading to kidney damage or failure.
10. Consuming a highly sugary diet can cause problems of diabetes which damages the blood vessels and nephrons in the kidney. Many people with diabetes may also develop high blood pressure, which also directly affects kidney health and its function.
11. Increased intake of non-vegetarian food that is high in protein can also take a toll on your kidney as it gets tough to metabolize them, making it hard for the kidney to eliminate waste from our body leading to acidosis and kidney damage.
12. Do not stress as over time, doing it can cause various health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, which can place you at risk of kidney damage.