According to the CDC, kidney disease is becoming a huge epidemic amongst the American population. In fact, up to 1 in 7 Americans are estimated to have the disease and thousands more are at risk for developing other kidney problems. These statistics may seem pretty daunting, but kidney disease takes a long period of time and prolonged bad habits in order to develop. If you are aware of the lifestyle choices that may put you at a higher risk, you have the potential to prevent the development of the disease.
Holding it in
When you gotta go, you gotta go! If you do not urinate often enough, the toxins that are meant to be released in a regular, timely manner may get backed up in the urinary system. Since the bladder is connected to your kidneys, if you constantly hold in excess urine, you can cause the urine to clog the kidneys which may result in a serious infection or permanent damage. This usually occurs after obtaining a urinary tract infection.
Being heavy-handed with the salt shaker
A diet that is heavy in sodium raises your blood pressure and in turn, hinders the kidney’s ability to remove toxins from the body. This causes extra strain on the blood cells around the kidneys. Over time, this may lead to kidney disease and, if left untreated, kidney failure. To reduce the salt in your cooking, swap it out for herbs like basil and garlic. Try decreasing your consumption of processed foods, which usually contain plenty of sodium.
Taking pain medication
If you are regularly taking painkillers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, you may be causing serious damage to your kidneys. These medications decrease blood flow to the kidneys, which may prevent them from proper functioning and result in kidney disease. Be sure to follow the exact instructions on the prescription, request the lowest effective dosage and only take the medicine as needed.
Eating too much protein
Protein is integral to a healthy diet, but only in small, healthy quantities. Many of us consume large portions of meat for our protein, which forces acid into the bloodstream and may cause acidosis, where the kidneys cannot process acid efficiently enough. It is important to balance your protein intake with fresh vegetables, fruits and healthy grains. You may also consider substituting meat for proteins like beans, nuts, eggs and fish to reduce your acid intake.
We know that smoking can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, but did you now that it can also put you at a higher risk for kidney disease? Known to be one of the leading causes of kidney disease, smoking speeds up your heart rate and contracts blood vessels, slowing down the blood flow to your kidneys.