There must have been numerous films where actors have been shown to suffer from kidney disease thanks to their daily dose of tipple. And while their sad predicaments do make a point, alcohol is not the only cause of kidney damage. Rather they form a part of a long list of dietary and lifestyle habits that can prove detrimental for the organs in the human body.
The second Thursday of March every year is observed as World Kidney Day across the globe. A global awareness campaign, it aims to highlight the importance of kidneys for our health and to reduce impact of kidney disease and health problems associated with it.
From having too much protein to indulging in a regular intake of processed foods, there are a number of damaging behaviours which puts pressure on the kidneys leading to chronic kidney disease. Here’s looking at 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.
A diet should be well balanced with proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
2. Consuming too much salt
Diets high in salt have a lot of sodium, which can increase blood pressure and in time affect renal function.A study by the San Giovanni Bosco Hospital, Italy found 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.
Studies have shown that diets that rely mostly on junk food and processed food may cause long-term damage to the kidneys and trigger diabetes as well.
For diabetics, since the body does not produce enough insulin, the sugar from processed foods can accumulate in the blood and lead to diabetic kidney disease.
5. Not sleeping enough
If you are tired, go to sleep. Work can wait another day. Wondering why? 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. Drinking 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.
Experts say alcohol causes changes in the function of kidneys hampering their ability to filter blood. Alcohol also affects blood pressure which in turn causes disruption in the renal function of the body.
If you want to avoid kidney ailments, lead a life where you keep active and fit, control blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy diet with plenty of fluids.