Our body’s natural filter

Our body’s natural filter

The kidney is often under tremendous stress as it has to sieve out the good from the bad, let's make its job easy, writes Dr Premkumar K

Too much salt

In the world of fitness and healthy living, we often end up talking about managing weight and eating healthy while missing out on how we can keep the vital organs of our body also healthy. Kidney, our body’s filter, removes waste and toxins from our body.

Being the filtering organ, kidney also helps in regulating blood pressure and other chemicals. It also stimulates the red blood cells produced in the body by releasing certain hormones into our body. In our busy life, little do we realise that our everyday habits might affect the health of kidneys and can put you at risk of kidney-related ailments.

According to a Lancet report, with the rising prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in India, the prevalence of chronic kidney disease is also expected to rise. In most cases, kidneys can be affected by medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Apart from certain medical conditions, sedentary lifestyle, accompanied by poor eating habits, can lead to chronic kidney disease. Listed below are some of the common habits that may damage your kidney:

Inadequate amount of water: Water is essential for the proper functioning of your kidneys. The primary function of the kidney is to flush out unwanted waste from the body. If your body is not getting enough water, the kidney will suffer. If your urine is getting darker, it is a sign that you’re not getting enough fluid. With proper levels of hydration in the body, it gets easier for the kidneys to flush out toxins.

 Untimely urination: Maintaining a full bladder for a long time and avoiding the urge of urinating can cause several complications in the urinary tract. The body then holds the toxins that was supposed to be flushed out and might lead to
kidney stones. The bacteria can also cause urinary incontinence or kidney infection.

   High consumption of salt: Taking higher amounts of salt in your diet can increase the amount of sodium in the blood. An increased amount of sodium in the blood reduces the ability of the kidney to flush out water from the body.

 Too much medication: Over-the-counter medicines taken over a long period of time or taken in high doses can raise the chances of kidney problem or might lead to kidney failure. It is always advisable to consult the doctor before consuming any kind of medicine.

 High-protein diet: Protein is important for the proper functioning of the body. However, consumption of proteins like red meat in excess amount can have a negative impact on the kidneys.

 Not eating healthy: Eating a healthy diet is the first step towards making your body organs fit and healthy. Consume fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. Make sure your diet has a low content of salt and sodium, sugars, fats and red meats.

 Smoking cigarettes: Smoking increases blood pressure and the heart rate and also reduces blood flow by narrowing the blood vessels in kidneys.

 Too much caffeine: Consuming too much caffeine can increase the amount of potassium in the body, and also cause a sudden increase in blood pressure.

 Having sweets in excess: It has been said that diabetes and kidney disease go hand-in-hand, thus consumption of sugar in higher amounts can put you at risk of both diabetes and kidney diseases simultaneously.

 Inadequate sleep: Sleepless nights or disrupted sleep patterns are often experienced by those living with chronic kidney problems. Since the functioning of kidneys is regulated by proper sleep, it is important to maintain a proper sleep-wake cycle as it helps in coordinating the kidney workload for over 24 hours.

In our day to day life, we do not realise that our habits might put our health at risk. It is always better to follow a few of the basic rules of staying fit in order to keep our body and our organs healthy.

(The author is urology & renal transplant surgeon, Fortis Hospital)