10 Common Habits That Could Be Harmful to Your Kidneys

Here is a list of ten habits that are widespread but which you may not be aware are straining your kidneys. It’s not too late to stop practicing these harmful habits!

1. Excessive Painkiller Use

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics, which are available over-the-counter for pain relief, can damage the kidneys, especially if you already have kidney disease. Never exceed the recommended dose and cut back on your regular NSAID use.

2. Abusing the Salt Shaker

Salt-rich diets contain a lot of sodium, which raises blood pressure and damages kidneys. Instead of salt, use herbs and spices to season your food. You might find it easier to stop adding extra salt (sodium) to your food over time.

3. Processed food consumption

Sodium and phosphorus are important nutrients found in processed foods. The amount of phosphorus in the diets of many people with kidney disease must be restricted. According to some studies, even those without kidney disease who consume a lot of phosphorus from processed foods may experience kidney and bone damage. To help you develop healthy eating habits, consider adopting the DASH diet.

4. Getting Insufficient Water

Your kidneys are aided in the removal of toxins and sodium from the body by maintaining good hydration. One of the best ways to avoid painful kidney stones is to drink plenty of water. Although those with kidney disease or kidney failure may need to limit their fluid intake, 1.5 to 2 liters (3 to 4 pints) of water per day is a healthy goal for most people.

5. Not Getting Enough Sleep

It turns out that getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for both your general health and your kidneys. The sleep-wake cycle controls kidney function and helps balance the kidneys’ workload throughout the course of a day.

6. Overindulging in Meat

High blood acid levels caused by animal protein can damage kidneys and result in acidosis, a condition where the kidneys are unable to remove acid quickly enough. All parts of the body require protein for growth, maintenance, and repair, but your diet should also include plenty of fruits and vegetables.

7. Consuming too much sugar

Sugar makes you more likely to become obese, which raises your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, two of the main causes of kidney disease. Avoid condiments, breakfast cereals, and white bread as they are all sneaky sources of processed sugar. In addition to desserts, sugar is frequently added to foods and beverages that you may not consider to be “sweet.” When purchasing packaged goods, pay close attention to the ingredients to prevent adding extra sugar to your diet.

8. Smoking

Yes, smoking is bad for your heart and lungs. Smoking causes fatty deposits in the arteries and raises blood pressure, heart rate, and blood clot formation. However, did you know that smoking might also be bad for your kidneys? Smokers are more likely to have protein in their urine, which is a sign of damaged kidneys. Smoking increases the risk of renal failure by four times compared to non-smokers, making it an independent risk factor for the condition.

9. Excessive Alcohol Consumption

The risk of developing chronic kidney disease is found to double with regular heavy drinking, defined as more than four drinks per day. The risk of kidney issues is even higher for heavy drinkers who also smoke. The risk of developing chronic kidney disease is approximately five times higher in heavy drinkers who also smoke than in non-smokers.

10. Sedentary Lifestyle

Long periods of sitting have now been connected to kidney disease development. Even though it’s unclear why or how sedentary time or physical activity affects kidney health specifically, it is known that more physical activity is linked to better blood pressure and glucose metabolism, both of which are crucial for kidney health.

The goal of this article is to aid in kidney disease prevention. Talk to your dietitian or nephrologist about your specific dietary requirements if you have been advised to limit your potassium or phosphorus intake or are receiving dialysis.