Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
You are born with two kidneys, both on each side of your spine at the bottom of your rib cage. They may be small, but they perform many vital functions that help maintain your overall health. They filter out waste products, excess water and other impurities out of the blood. They regulate pH, salt and potassium levels in your body. They also produce hormones that regulate blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells.
But some common health problems can affect your kidneys and that may even lead to complete kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant to stay alive. Luckily kidney damage can be prevented. You just need to be aware of what conditions can put you at risk and then learn some ways to manage them. So, in this article, let us discuss such conditions that often become the cause of kidney diseases.
Hypertension (also called high blood pressure) is a condition wherein the force of the blood flow through your body is too high. It can stretch, scar and weaken your blood vessels. If the blood vessels of the kidneys are damaged, they will not be able to get rid of the waste as effectively as they should. And extra fluid in the blood vessels will further increase your blood pressure. With certain medications and lifestyle changes, you can bring your blood pressure back to normal and prevent kidney damage.
Overweight or obese people are more likely to develop kidney conditions in the long run. The extra weight directly impacts the kidneys by making them work extra hard to meet the metabolic demands of the body. This leads to a condition called hyperfiltration. Obesity also increases the likelihood of development of conditions like diabetes and hypertension which are again major risk factors of kidney damage. But by managing your weight by simple lifestyle modification, these consequences can be prevented.
If you have high levels of cholesterol, then it can get accumulated in your blood vessels that carry the blood in and out of your kidneys. This will impact the efficiency of your kidneys. High cholesterol levels also increase the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, which again are causes of kidney damage. You can learn about cholesterol levels in your body with a simple blood test called a lipid profile test.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney damage. It harms the organ’s small blood vessels and filters thereby making them inefficient to perform their job. The body starts holding more waste which in turn leads to the development of various diseases. It can also trigger high blood pressure which only causes more harm. Therefore, keeping your blood sugar levels in check with regular health checkups is recommended.
Blood disorders like thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura can lead to kidney failure by causing clots in small blood vessels of the kidneys. This condition can prevent your kidneys from doing their job of eliminating waste from the body.
Urine backup in your system can lead to kidney damage. It can cause pressure and invite infection in your kidney and other parts of the body. Enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, kidney stones, bladder cancer and colon cancer are some such conditions that can lead to urine blockage.
Ways to prevent kidney damage
You can prevent damage to your kidneys by treating and managing the conditions that harm them. For that, you should take care of the following points in your daily life –
- Keep a regular check on your blood pressure levels
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Have a regular workout routine
- Reduce the intake of salt
- Quit smoking and the use of tobacco-related products
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid taking painkillers
Regular health checkups can also help you keep a watch on the health of your kidneys. You can go for a regular kidney function test or full-body health checkups for that. And if in case you happen to notice any signs and symptoms that might be associated with kidney damage, then consult with a doctor without any delay.
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