Have you been to the Hemodialysis Unit of a hospital? In there, people with defective kidneys depend on a dialysis machine to filter waste products from their blood. They undergo this 3-4 hour procedure 3 to 5 times a week. Missing one session may cause blood poisoning and death.
Not only is hemodialysis very costly. It’s also very risky. Because their circulatory system is always exposed, individuals undergoing hemodialysis are frequently at risk of infection which may be fatal. Some become allergic to the chemicals used in cleaning the tubes. Others develop clots that block circulation and lead to respiratory or cardiac arrest even during the procedure. I’ve actually witnessed patients dying while having hemodialysis.
Why am I saying all these? It’s to emphasize how important our kidneys are and how lucky we are that they are fully functioning. But most of us don’t realize that or we do but we still take our kidneys for granted. We live a lifestyle that isn’t so kind to these organs that cleanse most of our body’s waste. And unless we prefer a life dependent on machine, we should be gentle with our kidneys.
Here are five ways to do that.
1. Have Enough Rest. When you continually work beyond your capacity, your body becomes overly stressed and strained. This will lead to high blood pressure which will cause the hardening of arteries in the kidneys. The kidneys will not receive enough blood supply and will then become impaired. Find time to relax. Avoid fatigue. Make sure you have ample moments for rest and recreation.
2. Hydrate. Your kidneys carry away waste products from your blood through the water they constantly filter. If the kidneys do not receive adequate fluid, they cannot function optimally. A lot of waste will remain in the body which will eventually cause poisoning. Inadequate water also results to a highly concentrated urine which can irritate the sensitive tubes in the kidneys. If this condition is prolonged, it may cause kidney breakdown, infection, and kidney stones. Thus, it is critical that you supply your kidneys with enough water. The recommended daily water intake for adult is 6-8 glasses.
3. Don’t Eat Too Much Meat. The protein in meat is indispensable to maintaining good health. However, too much protein is tough on the kidneys. When protein is digested, it produces a waste product called urea. The kidneys are responsible in eliminating these. Hence, more high-protein foods mean more work for the kidneys to do – a condition that can damage the kidneys over time. Hence, consume meat moderately. If you already have a kidney condition or your kidneys are stressed, you should also decrease your dairy intake.
4. Consume Vitamin A-Rich Foods. You’re prone to kidney stones and other kidney diseases if you don’t have enough Vitamin A in your body. Unless you have a kidney condition and are advised to reduce intake of foods high in potassium, eat a lot of yellow and dark green vegetables as well as tomatoes, apricots and butter, among many others.
5. Cut the Coffee and the Cigarettes. Coffee stimulates kidney secretion thus excessive drinking of it may stress the kidneys especially if combined with other risk factors. Nicotine in cigarettes also constricts small blood vessels in the kidneys thereby reducing the amount of blood that flows into the kidneys. Blood carries the nutrients that the kidney cells need, so prolonged lack of blood supply leads to necrosis or the death of the kidney cells and therefore, the damage of the kidneys. Reduce or better yet, avoid drinking coffee. Don’t smoke.