Summer can affect your kidneys! Tips to maintain renal health and keep diseases at bay

Did you know summer can take a toll on your kidney health? Here are some expert-recommended tips to take care of your kidneys in summer.
Kidney organ donation
Kidney is a widely donated organ by women across the world. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Deepak Kalra Published: 8 Mar 2023, 15:00 pm IST
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You might like waking up to the glistening sunlight at times, going out on picnics when the weather’s nice and blue, and there are clear skies, but it’s can be bad for your health sometimes. The scorching heat of the summer sun, especially during the afternoon hours, can be harsh on your kidneys. It can be more dangerous for children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases like chronic kidney disease (CKD), heart disease and liver diseases. They need to take special care of themselves to stay protected from kidney injury during these months. Even people without kidney disease are required to pay extra attention to their kidneys.

So, taking care of your kidneys in summer becomes vital. This World Kidney day, try to incorporate some of these recommended tips. But first, let’s understand how summer affects your kidneys.

summer heat
Summer heat can take a toll on your kidneys as well. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How the summer season affects your kidneys?

People tend to get dehydrated during the summer season, especially due to the heat, leading to a lot of health problems. Some of the common problems that could affect you during the summer season include acute kidney failure, increased incidents of kidney stones, and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Moreover, an intense workout without an adequate level of hydration can lead to muscle injury or rhabdomyolysis, leading to muscle protein leakage in the blood resulting in acute kidney failure.

To avoid all this, you need to take appropriate measures so that you don’t have to suffer from any unwanted complications.

What you can do to protect your kidneys in summer?

If summer can wreak havoc on your kidneys, the best you can do is protect them by taking precautions.

Kidney health
What you can do to protect your kidneys in summer? Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Here’s what you are advised to do:

1. Stay Indoors during the hottest time of the day.
2. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during the peak hours i.e. 12-4 pm.
3. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or greater.
4. Wear cotton and light weighted clothes.
5. Be advertent to the signs of dehydration such as dry mouth and throat, reduced urine output or dark colour urine, increasing fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, and irregular or accelerated heartbeat.
6. The colour of urine is also a great indicator of the level of hydration. Lemon colour represents adequate hydration level and orange or any dark colour represents dehydration.
7. For people with no chronic illness, it is recommended to keep the fluid intake between 2-3 litres a day.
8. People with chronic diseases like chronic kidney disease, heart disease etc., should consult their doctors regarding fluid intake. Staying hydrated in summer is important, but patients with kidney disease need to take care to avoid fluid overload. The best is to measure the urine volume and add 500 ml for sweating, which should be your fluid intake.
9. People engaging in workouts should drink 350 ml of water before a workout and supplement it every 30-45 minutes.
10. The more intense and prolonged workouts should require replacement with sports drinks like Gatorade in addition to water.
11. People working outdoors in summer should increase their water intake by 250 ml of water approximately every 20 min to maintain an adequate level of hydration.
12. Increase the intake of water-rich fruits and vegetables like watermelon, peaches, strawberries, cherries, cucumber and lettuce to ensure mineral and water replenishment.
13. Avoid carbonated drinks with high caffeine and sugar content as it causes dehydration despite being in liquid form.
14. Reduce your alcohol intake as it can lead to dehydration, increasing the risk of kidney disease.
15. Reduce intake of processed foods like chips and ready-to-eat food items as they are rich in salt which can increase the chances of causing dehydration.

Being a little cautious can help keep your kidneys healthy and safe this summer.

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About the Author

Dr Deepak Kalra, Director of Nephrology at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi. He has more than 16 years of experience and has worked in nephrology with government and private hospitals in Delhi. After his MBBS, he did his DM from SGPGI, Lucknow. Dr. Kalra has clinical interests in Hematology, Kidney Transplants Physician, Clinical Nephrology, and Diabetic Hypertension. ...Read More

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