6 Ways You Could Be Harming Your Kidneys

We never want to be doing harm to our own bodies. However, sometimes we do it unknowingly. Harming your kidneys is easier than you may think. Your kidneys are an important part of your body. Their main job is to remove waste products and excess waste. They also produce hormones that allow other organs in your body to function optimally. 

When you are keeping up with your lifestyle, there may be things you do not even realize are harming your kidneys. Our team at Durham Nephrology is here to teach you about what could be doing damage to that area of the body. To keep your kidneys healthy, be sure to avoid the following behaviors.

Ways You Could Be Harming Your Kidneys

1. Using Too Many Painkillers

While over-the-counter pain medications are a great way to relieve any aches and pains, they could be harming your kidneys. They can lead to chronic kidney problems over time, called analgesic nephropathy. This is damage done to the small filtering blood vessels in the kidneys.  

Try to reduce how often you take them and refrain from going over the recommended dosage. It is often important to stay up to date on blood work, so your doctor can determine if this happens, as it is often a symptom-less condition. 

2. Eating Processed Foods

Although processed foods may be tasty and convenient, they are loaded with sodium and phosphorus, which can hinder your kidney health. Instead of filling your diet with foods like pizza and potato chips, opt for fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins.

While it can seem difficult to change your entire diet, the key is taking it one step at a time. This is an easier transition and does not make you feel overwhelmed by the very sudden change. 

3. Not Drinking Enough Water

Hydration is important for your kidneys because the water frees them from toxins and sodium. While helping rid the body of toxins, water also opens up the blood vessels, so that blood can travel freely to your kidneys. When you are dehydrated, both of these processes can not happen at the optimal rate. For this reason, it’s a good idea to drink plenty of water and keep a water bottle by your side at all times to remind yourself to hydrate to avoid harming your kidneys.

4. Smoking

Most people know that smoking is bad for your heart and lungs. However, many are unaware of the fact that this bad habit can bring more protein into your urine and eventually lead to kidney damage. If you smoke, make every effort to quit.

This is much easier said than done, but there are many resources out there that can help you. If you want to talk to our team about some of these options, we would be happy to help you find the best fit. 

5. Not Exercising

Even if you lead a busy lifestyle, getting up and moving daily is important. By failing to do so and sitting for long periods of time, you put yourself at a higher risk for kidney disease. Simply put, exercise lets your body improve muscle function, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, keep a healthy body weight, and improve sleep. Make daily exercise a priority in your life, and your kidneys (and other body parts) will thank you.

6. Not Getting Enough Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest is essential for your kidneys and overall health, preventing harming your kidneys. Your sleep-wake cycle regulates kidney function, which helps coordinate how your kidneys work over a 24-hour period. There are many ways to improve your sleep, and we discussed one earlier about making daily exercise part of your routine. That is just the beginning! 

Contact Durham Nephrology 

If you have further questions about how to keep healthy and not harming your kidneys, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. We are always looking for ways to improve our habits to contribute to better kidney health in the long run as well. There are many people on our team ready to take the next step with you. To schedule an appointment, call (919) 477-3005. We look forward to hearing from you!


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