Without your kidneys functioning properly, your body begins to fill up with extra waste products, your hands and feet begin to swell from excess water and your body becomes weak and tired, as it desperately needs a good detox. Your kidneys are responsible for a variety of functions, with their primary job being to cleanse toxins from your blood and transform it into waste that gets expelled from the body through your urine. And when they stop working properly, many problems can occur as the toxins and impurities in the blood begin to build up. This is what happens when you have kidney disease, which affects approximately 77 million Americans, which breaks down to being 1 in 7 adults in the United States. What’s even worse though is that studies show that as many as 90% of cases have no idea they have kidney disease, which is extremely dangerous since untreated kidney disease can lead to kidney failure and cardiovascular disease. But there’s no need to panic just yet. You’re here reading this and that’s the first step. Plus, several studies have found that the only real long-term solution is to drink more clean water, get more exercise and avoid processed and unhealthy foods. In this article, we cover everything there is to know about improving your kidney health.
- 1 Why Are Kidneys Important?
- 2 What Happens When the Kidneys Become Damaged?
- 3 Signs of Potential Kidney Damage
- 4 What are the Risk Factors for Kidney Damage?
- 5 Treatment for Kidney Damage
- 6 How To Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
Why Are Kidneys Important?
Many argue that the kidneys aren’t just an important organ but rather, they’re the most important organ in the body. This is because you need your kidneys to function properly to survive. However, the same can also be said about many of your other organs, such as your heart and lungs. So, what makes kidneys so important?
Your kidneys are responsible for many crucial functions in the body. They act as efficient filters that remove waste and toxins from the blood (and body), while simultaneously pushing vitamins, amino acids, hormones, glucose and other crucial substances into the bloodstream. As such, they play a major role in maintaining many things that are vital to your existence, such as regulating your blood pressure and the overall health of your blood, producing hormones that tell your bones when to make more blood cells, maintaining fluid balance, removing waste materials, and so on and so forth.
Without properly functioning kidneys, the body begins to fill with dangerous levels of waste products and excess fluid that make you very sick and that can ultimately result in a loss of life.
What Happens When the Kidneys Become Damaged?
As mentioned previously, when your kidneys become damaged, they are unable to function properly. This can result in dangerous levels of waste products and fluid building up in your body. This can cause all kinds of uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Frequent or lack of urination
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle cramps
- Poor sleep
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in your ankles
If the kidneys continue to be damaged with no treatment, the damage can worsen, eventually causing your kidneys to stop working altogether. This is known as kidney failure and is a serious and life-threatening issue.
Signs of Potential Kidney Damage
All of the symptoms mentioned previously are signs of potential kidney damage and should not be overlooked. However, the following can also be signs to look out for:
- Bubbly urine
- Foul breath
- Frequent or constant exhaustion
- Itchy skin
- Swollen feet or face
It’s highly recommended to speak with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms mentioned previously.
What are the Risk Factors for Kidney Damage?
While kidney damage can affect anyone, there are a variety of risk factors that may make you more likely to develop problems. Some of these risk factors are entirely within your control, such as diet, lifestyle and physical activity, whereas others are not.
Here’s a quick recap of the potential risk factors for developing kidney disease:
- Diabetes puts you at a higher risk of developing kidney disease
- High blood pressure may increase your risk of kidney disease
- Family history of kidney disease puts you at a higher risk
- Ethnicity may increase your risk, particularly people of Aboriginal, Asian, South Asian, Pacific Island, African/Caribbean and Hispanic descent
- Medications and drugs (illegal and legal) can cause kidney damage
- Obesity increases your risk
- Past damage to the kidneys can increase your risk
- Heart disease is a risk factor for kidney disease
Treatment for Kidney Damage
There are different treatment options available for you, depending on the health of your kidneys. For example, medication is commonly used to help manage symptoms for kidney damage and kidney disease. However, if you are experiencing kidney failure, dialysis or a kidney transplant are your only options. While these can be effective forms of treatment, they are quite extreme treatments that take a serious toll on your body. That’s also not to forget mentioning that conventional treatments are costly and there’s typically a long waiting list. So, it’s important to be proactive and keep your kidneys healthy to avoid having to wait or undergo such intense treatment options.
How To Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
You’re likely a little scared after reading about the potential dangers of kidney damage and ultimately, kidney disease or failure. So, let’s start with a bit of reassurance: numerous studies show that the only real long-term solution is a simple and natural approach: drink more clean water, get more exercise and, most importantly, avoid processed and unhealthy foods and enjoy natural whole foods instead. There are also many lifestyle changes you make to maximize your kidney health.
To get you started on your healing, here are some suggestions:
Exercise is key for keeping your kidneys in tip-top shape, while also maintaining overall health and wellness on a physical, mental and emotional level. With regular exercise, you can significantly lower the risk of kidney disease, as it helps reduce your blood pressure and increase your heart health. Both are imperative for preventing kidney damage.
Aim to get a minimum of 20 minutes of physical activity in every day of the week or at least, on most of the days of the week. This can be intense cardio sessions or a brisk walk around the block; all physical activity counts.
Cut your sugar intake
It’s no surprise that sugar is one of the things you’ll want to cut out of your diet as much as possible. Sugar has been linked to contributing to all kinds of diseases and illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease. In terms of your kidneys, the more sugar in your body, the harder your kidneys have to work. So, aim to reduce your sugar intake to have better control over your blood sugar levels, which can lower your risk of potential kidney damage as they don’t have to work so hard.
Eat a healthy diet
Studies show that eating a diet that contains more natural whole foods and less packaged, unhealthy foods is an effective form of treatment for kidney disease. It can also help with weight loss, which is a main factor that can increase your chances of developing kidney disease.
As a rule of thumb, aim to have a diet rich in real food ingredients and low in sodium, processed meats and other kidney-damaging ingredients, including soda, canned foods, dairy, pickles, etc.
Similar to the prior, studies show that drinking more clean water can be an effective remedy for kidney disease, as it helps clear more toxins from the body. Aim to get a minimum of eight glasses of clean drinking water each day and increase this amount on the days you workout.
Quit your bad habits
We all have vices but they aren’t doing anything good for your kidneys. Whether it’s emotional eating, smoking cigarettes, taking recreational drugs or drinking excessively, quitting these bad habits can dramatically improve your overall health.
Smoking is particularly harmful in general, but also when your kidneys are at risk, as they damage your blood vessels, causing the blood flow to slow down.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
It might sound strange to see mindfulness and meditation on this list of ways to improve your kidney function, but using these practices daily can drastically decrease your stress. This can significantly reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels to eliminate any extra strain and burden placed on your kidneys.
Now that you know the importance of having healthy, properly functioning kidneys, it’s time to implement these simple, natural changes to reduce your risk of developing kidney damage and kidney disease. Making healthy, positive changes in your diet, physical activity and hydration levels are proven to be an effective, long-term solution, and with the extra tips provided, you’re well on your way to healthy kidneys.
If you require more guidance, there are programs that will teach and guide you further. “The Chronic Kidney Disease Solution” is one of the programs we recommend.