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Top 10 Tips To Avoid Lifestyle-Related Kidney Damage. Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Background image sources – Pixabay (PD)
Kidney disease is now the 9th leading cause of death in the United States with an estimated 31 million people suffering from it.  Kidney disease does not happen overnight. Most causes of renal damage occur cumulatively – gradually over several years and often as a result of poor lifestyle choices – however it is known as a “silent killer” because loss of kidney function may not be accompanied by any symptoms until it is too late. Fortunately, lifestyle choices are modifiable so it’s not yet too late. Here are the top 10 deadly habits that can lead to kidney disease.
1. Avoid Smoking
By this time, everyone should know that smoking is bad for your health. It is carcinogenic, triggers respiratory disease, causes hypertension and is bad for your kidneys. Smoking causes vasoconstriction. When blood vessels tighten it impedes circulation towards the kidney. This deprives the organ of nutrients, causing it damage.
2. Avoid Holding In Your Pee
Not voiding when your bladder is full makes you more prone to UTI. When you don’t empty your bladder on a regular basis, your urine becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Even more dangerous is the fact that holding in your pee can cause the infection to move up from the bladder towards your kidney and consequently leading to kidney damage.
3. Avoid A Diet High In Simple Sugars
Eating a lot of sweet foods like soft drinks and desserts not only puts you at risk of developing diabetes but it can also cause kidney failure. When your blood sugar is too high, some of that sugar spills out into your urine. Normally, there shouldn’t be any sugar in your pee, but when you experience hyperglycemia over a prolonged period, the excess sugar begins damaging the structures inside your kidney.  In addition to that, when urine contains sugar it causes bacteria to grow at a faster rate, putting you at a higher risk of developing a UTI.
4. Avoid Hypertension
The kidneys are our body’s filter for the blood. High blood pressure can damage the delicate blood vessels within the kidney making the organ work harder to filter and clean the blood. Eventually, the blood vessels become scarred and weak with all the trauma hypertension has caused, and this ultimately leads to kidney disease. 
5. Avoid Inappropriate Use Of Over The Counter Medications
Some OTC medications are known to be nephrotoxic aka. damaging to the kidneys, when taken in excess. OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen and aspirin, when abused, can damage the insides of the kidney. Hyperacidity medications like omeprazole have also been listed as a cause of nephritis aka. inflammation of the kidneys, when taken in high dosages. 
6. Avoid Lack Of Exercise
This one is bad news for people who sit in a chair all day. Sorry but it’s true: Not moving enough can be bad for your body in several ways. It can increase your chances of getting a stroke, pneumonia, blood clots and yes you’ve guessed it, even damage your kidneys. When you don’t move a lot or you don’t exercise regularly, the flow of urine is not helped by gravity. This makes it easier for kidney stones to form inside your body. In fact, the relationship between a sedentary lifestyle to kidney disease is so strong, researchers have figured that just as little as 80 minutes a day of inactivity can increase the likelihood of renal disease by 20 percent. 
7. Avoid Drinking Too Much Alcohol
It’s a well known fact that overindulgence in alcohol affects our bodies drastically. It can cause blood pressure to shoot up and can damage our liver over time. When both blood pressure and liver function deteriorate, it makes the job for the kidneys harder. 
8. Avoid Not Drinking Enough Water
Staying well-hydrated is good for your body. It prevents kidney stones, flushes out toxins, makes it hard for bacteria to grow inside our urinary tract, and ensures our kidneys are functioning properly. Not getting enough water to drink throws a wrench in the works and can significantly decrease kidney function.
9. Avoid Excess Sodium
A diet high in salt leads to hypertension. Hypertension, as mentioned previously, can damage the circulation of blood in our kidneys. Excess sodium in the body causes water retention and makes it hard for our kidneys to regulate fluid balance.
10. Avoid Excessive Stress
Normal levels of stress are necessary for us to grow as a person but when it becomes unchecked, it can cause serious life-threatening conditions. Chronic stress can cause your blood pressure to increase and makes you more likely to eat unhealthy foods. It can also trigger you into drinking alcohol and using medications inappropriately.
Summary: Your kidneys won’t necessarily warn you that you are harming them. Be good to yourself. Taking care of your internal organs through good lifestyle is an investment in your future, take the steps now and get the benefits later.
 2015 Kidney Disease Statistics (2015) https://kidneyfund.org/assets/pdf/kidney-disease-statistics.pdf
 Diabetes and Kidney Disease (2014) https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/Diabetes-and-Kidney-Disease-Stages1-4
 High Blood Pressure & Kidney Disease (2014) https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/high-blood-pressure
 Drug-Induced Nephrotoxicity (2008) https://aafp.org/afp/2008/0915/p743.html
 People with Sedentary Lifestyles Are at Increased Risk of Developing Kidney Disease (2015) https://newswise.com/articles/people-with-sedentary-lifestyles-are-at-increased-risk-of-developing-kidney-disease
 Alcohol consumption and 5-year onset of chronic kidney disease: the AusDiab study (2009) https://academic.oup.com/ndt/article/24/8/2464/1940047/Alcohol-consumption-and-5-year-onset-of-chronic
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