Typically, we don’t think much about our kidneys – that is, until something happens and we are suffering from a painful infection, or we see one for sale on eBay. But maintaining healthy kidneys has a profound effect on our quality of life.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million Americans suffer from kidney disease, and most don’t even know it. Although heredity plays a part in the likelihood of developing kidney disease, most cases can be prevented through lifestyle changes.
It takes a lot to keep our bodies running, and our internal systems create a great deal of waste. The kidneys are in charge of filtering waste from the bloodstream and channeling it out of the body via urine. When the kidneys are unable to function fully, waste builds up and toxic sickness and disease appear.
If you want to keep your kidneys healthy, try making their job easier by incorporating some of these healthy habits.
Flushing your system gives your kidneys a much-needed boost in maintaining their cleanup duties. “Every day, the kidneys filter around 200 quarts of fluid. Of these, approximately 2 quarts are removed from the body in the form of urine, and 198 are recovered by the bloodstream,” wrote health contributor James McIntosh.
“Keeping our body hydrated is important at all stages of life,” said Mark Hymas, executive director of Copper Ridge Healthcare. “Selecting water as your daily drink of choice staves off the dangers of dehydration, but it also aids in digestion, eases joints and maintains proper kidney function.”
Most experts recommend drinking at least 3 liters of fluids for men and 2.2 liters of fluids for women each day.
Scheduling exercise 30 minutes per session at least three times per week adds significant benefits to other vital organs as well. It reduces blood pressure and heart disease, decreases stress, adds flexibility to joints, builds muscle and maintains cardiovascular activity that helps prevent kidney disease.
Don’t overuse over-the-counter medications
“When your kidneys aren’t working properly, medications can build up and cause you harm,” warned the National Kidney Foundation. “It’s important to get your kidneys checked and work with your doctor to make any adjustments to your medication regimen, such as dosing changes or substitutions.”
The National Kidney Foundation also warned against the excessive use of over-the-counter pain medications and antacids. They reported that “as many as 3 to 5 percent of new cases of chronic kidney failure each year may be caused by the overuse of these painkillers. Once kidney disease occurs, continued use of the problem drug makes it worse.”
This summer, make a commitment to better health by showing some kindness to your kidneys. By drinking lots of fluids, exercising regularly, and minimizing the use of over-the-counter medications, you can keep your kidneys in tiptop shape.
This article was previously published by the OC Register and republished here with permission.