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20 Things That Are Actually Damaging The Kidneys

17. Not exercising The National Kidney Foundation believes that exercise is critical for kidney function. Exercise lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight. It aids with… Simi - January 19, 2017
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17. Not exercising

The National Kidney Foundation believes that exercise is critical for kidney function. Exercise lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight. It aids with sleeping and muscle function. All of these factors help the kidneys to function normally. Exercise helps the body to process nutrients and fluids. These are the key jobs the kidneys perform.

It is essential for people who are obese to exercise. Any weight they lose reduces their risk of kidney disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Those with an excess of salt in their diet can benefit from exercise and so can their kidneys. Salt causes raised blood pressure and affect how the kidneys function. The sweat that exercise produces is another way for the body to secrete salt. This can alleviate the kidneys as they don’t need to process all that salt.

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A recent study into the incidences of kidney stones came up with interesting findings related to exercise. The study was conducted by the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle and was funded by the Women’s Health Initiative. 85,000 women aged 50 and over were monitored. Aspects of their diets, body mass index and exercise habits were scrutinized. After 8 years, there was a link established between exercise and a lowered incidence of kidney stones. Researchers said that the intensity of the exercise didn’t matter as much as the volume. It seems that any exercise is better than none.

People who exercise tend to make healthier food and lifestyle choices. All of these can be beneficial to the kidneys as well. Giving your kidneys a helping hand to keep them functioning is as simple as a brisk walk 2-3 times a week.

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18. Not sleeping

Sleep is vital for the whole body. It gives a chance for the organs, muscles, and tissue a chance to regenerate and recharge. The kidneys are no different. They use the ‘downtime’ while we’re sleeping to process excess fluids and rest before the activities of the next day. The circadian clock is the body’s biorhythm pattern that distinguishes between sleep and wakefulness. The kidney is programmed to function differently during the night as the demands on it are different.

It seems that there is a correlation between declining kidney function and a lack of sleep in women. A study was conducted by researchers at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Women who were sleep deprived were shown to experience a more rapid decline in kidney function. Those who got 5 hours’ sleep or less a night had a 65% higher risk of rapid kidney function decline. This was in comparison with women who were getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

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The research excluded male subjects, but in all likelihood, the effects will be similar. What concerns academics is that, over the last 20 years, the average amount of sleep people get has decreased. About 20 years ago, an average night’s sleep consisted of 8 hours. In more recent years, it’s declined to 6.5 hours. And it’s expected to decrease even further. At this stage, experts recommend that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

The study did not prove that sleeping longer improves kidney function. Nor did it establish whether changing your sleeping pattern to include more sleep would reverse kidney damage. However, the fact that a lack of sleep could cause kidney failure in addition to heart disease and diabetes should give us all pause for thought.

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19. Not going to the toilet

The feeling is familiar. You find yourself needing to go to the toilet but unable to. You don’t like using a public restroom at the mall. So, you resolve to hold it in until you get home. Or you have to attend to a customer and can’t go to the toilet right then. Many people hold in their urge to urinate until the very last moment before making a mad dash for the toilet. They do it for a variety of reasons. Some believe that it strengthens the bladder muscles. Others believe it helps them to put mind over matter. Whatever their justification may be, the ugly truth is that holding it in is bad for your kidneys. It can damage them over the long-term.

When the kidneys produce urine, they do so for the purpose of expelling and excreting toxins and other by-products from the body. Excess salt and other harmful substances need to be removed from the body as waste. When you ignore that ‘call of nature’ you do so at the peril of your kidneys.

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The entire urinary tract is affected by a failure to empty your bladder when necessary. The toxins your kidneys were trying to flush may remain behind in the body when you finally go to the toilet. This can cause infection and other damage to the kidneys. In some cases, it gets so bad that the urine in the bladder can back up into your kidneys. This can cause infection as well.

It’s advisable to urinate as soon as your bladder tells you it’s time to go. If you find yourself urinating frequently or unable to control your bladder, see your doctor and get some help.

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20. Not monitoring your blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as the ‘silent killer.’ Many people don’t find out they have it until it’s too late. Then the damage is already done, and it’s hard to reverse. When you have high blood pressure, your arteries and veins are pumping the blood in high volumes. This places pressure on the walls of the blood vessels. The blood vessels are damaged, sometimes permanently.

The blood vessels that lead to and from your kidneys may become damaged by high blood pressure. The kidney system is supplied with blood by a large network composed of many blood vessels. When high blood pressure damages these vessels, they cannot receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to filter the toxins from fluids in the body. Your kidneys also produce a hormone called aldosterone. This hormone helps to regulate your blood pressure. When your kidneys are damaged by high blood pressure, they cannot produce enough of this important hormone. A vicious cycle is created. It keeps perpetuating, with the kidneys becoming more damaged at each stage.

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Low blood pressure, or hypotension, results in an inadequate flow of blood to the organs. This under supply of blood also affects the nutrients and oxygen that the kidneys need to function well. The result is often a heart attack, kidney failure, or a stroke.

Your blood pressure, whether high or low, is essential. You must have your blood pressure tested at least once a year, if not more. If you have a family history of blood pressure problems, take precautions and track your blood pressure. Knowing that you have a blood pressure problem allows you to treat it before it can do severe damage to your organs.

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