WHAT DO YOUR KIDNEYS DO?

WHAT DO YOUR KIDNEYS DO?

The kidneys are one of the most important organs in the human body. Each human has two kidneys that are bean shaped and each one is approximately the size of a fist. These organs are located below the rib cage and each kidney is on either side of the spine. The kidneys serve many important functions such as filtering blood, getting rid of waste, regulating blood pressure, releasing necessary hormones, creating and regulating red blood cells, creating vitamins, regulating nutrients etc. As you can see, these functions are absolutely necessary for the proper function of the human body and it is necessary to keep them in balance.



How Do They Work?

The kidneys work in a very similar fashion as filters. Basically, blood goes into the kidneys from the heart through the renal artery and then this blood is cleaned by the kidneys. The kidneys contain millions of small blood filters that clean the blood when it flows through them. All of the waste material is then passed onto the bladder where it is stored as urine. Once the bladder is full, then you'll feel the urge to urinate and the urine which contains the waste materials will pass through your urethra. The clean blood will then be transported back into your blood stream via various veins.

Kidneys have a very essential job and about 200 quarts of blood are filtered every 24 hours. Typically speaking, about 198 quarts of cleaned blood are returned to the body and the 2 quarts that contain waste materials are eliminated from the body via urination.

Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy It is essential that you keep your kidneys as healthy as possible in order to enjoy good health. They are necessary to expel waste from your body as well as create the necessary hormones that your body needs in order to function optimally. With that said, we will now look at some of the best ways that you can keep your kidneys as healthy as possible.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising regularly is not only important for looking slim and fit. It is important to help prevent kidney damage by lowering your blood pressure and improving your heart health. Exercising regularly also helps to prevent chronic kidney disease. So, you should strive to exercise regularly and do any type of exercise that you enjoy. This can include running, skipping rope, jogging, weight lifting, dancing, cycling etc. It is best that you choose exercises that you enjoy so that you will consistently exercise at least 4 to 5 days per week.

Eat Healthy & Watch Your Weight Insert picture of healthy food

Unfortunately, being overweight or obese can cause a wide range of health issues which can damage your kidneys. Some of these health issues include heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and more. So, make sure to maintain a healthy weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise. Additionally, your diet is not only important in order to manage your weight but you should avoid certain foods that actually damage your kidneys. Some of the foods which can damage your kidneys include soda, canned foods, processed meats, chips etc. So, it is best to eat fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits, fish etc. Also, make sure to reduce your consumption of foods that are high in sodium.

Drink Lots Of Water

Drinking a lot of water on a daily basis is good for your kidneys. So, make sure that you strive to drink your 8 glasses of water every day! The reason why good hydration is so important is because the water helps to flush out the toxins, sodium and other waste from your kidneys. Also, it helps a great deal in preventing chronic kidney disease.

There are many factors that impact how much water you should be drinking such as your age, gender, weight, weather conditions in the area that you live etc. It is best to aim for a minimum of 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking is very harmful to your health and it actually damages your blood vessels which slows down blood flow. Additionally, it increases your risk of kidney cancer. So, make sure to avoid smoking or do your best to quit the habit.

Monitor Usage of OTC Pills

Unfortunately, many OTC pills such as naproxen and ibuprofen can cause kidney damage, especially if you use them daily for various pains, headaches etc. So, you should talk to your doctor about alternatives to help manage pain.

Control Blood Sugar

If you have diabetes or high blood sugar, then you are at a much higher risk of developing kidney damage. This happens because of the high levels of sugar in your blood, your kidneys need to work a lot harder in order to filter and clean your blood. After many years of this, your kidneys may become damaged which can potentially threaten your life. So, make sure to control your blood sugar so that you can prevent this from happening.

When Your Kidneys Aren't Working Right

There are any signs and symptoms that indicate your kidneys aren't working as they should. Some of these are:

* Weakness, fatigue and even headaches
* Problems sleeping
* Bad breath as well as a metallic taste in your mouth
* Swelling in the feet, arms, ankles* Puffy eyes
* Problems with your urine: blood in urine, foamy urine or a need to urinate more often
* High blood pressure
* Shortness of breath, even with little activity
* Back pain
* Itchy and dry skin
* Poor appetite

Kidney Infection Plus UTI

Another medical condition that may occur are kidney infections. This is actually a particular type of UTI that starts in your bladder or urethra and then goes to your kidneys. If you do get a kidney infection, it is imperative that you get immediate medical attention because if it is left untreated, it can cause permanent kidney damage. It can even cause bacteria to get into your blood which will likely become life threatening.

Some of the symptoms of a kidney infection include pain in the back, flank or side, chills and fever, blood or pus in the urine, frequent urination, stomach pain, burning during urination or pain, urine that has a bad odor or is cloudy etc.

There are certain factors that increase your risk of developing a kidney infection. The most common risk factors include being female, having a weak immune system, usage of urinary catheters, urinary track blockages, nerve damage around the bladder, pregnancy etc. The reason why women are at a higher risk of getting kidney infections is because women have shorter urethras in comparison to men. This means that bacteria can more easily enter the body and into the bladder. Also, the urethra is quite close to the anus, which makes the possible transference of bacteria easier.

As mentioned previously, treating a kidney infection is very important because if it is left untreated, it can cause blood poisoning, kidney scarring which can cause chronic kidney disease or even kidney failure. However, you can reduce your risk by avoiding the use of douches or feminine sprays in your genital region, drinking lots of water, urinating after intercourse and wiping front to back after bowel movements so that no bacteria gets into the urethra.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are essentially stones or mineral deposits that develop in the kidneys. These stones develop when your urine is very concentrated and the minerals in your urine stick together to form stones. Unfortunately, kidney stones are very painful, especially when you pass them. When it comes to treating them, the treatment is dependent on your particular situation. If the stones are quite small, then all you may need to do is drink a lot of water and take some medications in order to pass them naturally. However, if the stones are stuck in your urinary tract or there are other complications, then you may need to undergo surgery.

There are many reasons why you may develop kidney stones such as a poor diet, poor hydration, excess weight, usage of certain supplements or medications etc. Some of the symptoms that indicate you may have kidney stones include pain or burning during urination, pain in your stomach that goes towards your groin, sharp pain along your sides or ribs etc. You may also experience bad smelling urine, urine that is pink or brown, the need to urinate very often and usually in small quantities.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is when your kidneys start to gradually lose their functionality of cleaning fluid and waste from your blood. This is also known as kidney failure. As this condition becomes worse, waste and fluid will build up in your body. Unfortunately, in many cases, symptoms of this condition are not apparent until it becomes advanced.

Some of the symptoms include: itching, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sleep issues, chest pain, swelling of the feet and ankles, fatigue, weakness, changes in frequency of urination, muscle cramps etc. Unfortunately, these symptoms can be caused by other medical issues, so if you are at risk of developing kidney disease, then you should regularly monitor your kidney health and function.

The causes of chronic kidney disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, polycystic kidney disease, kidney infections that recur, Glomerulonephritis and Vesicoureteral reflux. If you want to reduce your risk of developing this disease then you should avoid smoking, maintain a healthy weight and avoid taking too many pain killers.

Natural Alternatives for Kidney Health

As you can see, taking care of your kidneys should be a high priority. There are many natural alternatives that you can use to keep your kidneys in great health and free of any of the issues listed above.

Kidney Cleansing Teas

1. Stinging Nettle is a plant that has been widely used to cleanse the kidneys is the stinging nettle. This plant's leaves contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help protect your body from oxidative stress.

2. Sambong is another plant that can be used to help prevent kidney stones from forming. This plant is typically found in tropical climates in countries such as India and the Philippines.

3. Hydrangea, which contains lots of antioxidants can protect your kidneys against various forms of damage.

Supplements

Next let’s look at natural supplement there are many you can take that will support good kidney function.

1. Omega 3s - Most modern diets are low in Omega 3s while being high in Omega 6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, a high concentration of Omega 6 in your body can lead to kidney stones. However, by taking Omega 3 supplements, they can decrease the negative impact of Omega 6s in your body and prevent damage.

2. Vitamin B6 - Too much oxalate in your body can result in the formation of kidney stones. However, if you take vitamin B6, then this supplement can work to protect your body against these stones by metabolizing glyoxylate into glycine as oppose to oxalate.

3. Potassium Citrate - Potassium citrate can help by balancing the pH of your urine and electrolytes. This will naturally reduce your risk of developing kidney stones.

4. Moringa - these supplements are very high in antioxidants which helps to reduce kidney toxicity. It also helps to prevent the formation of kidney stones and even bladder stones.

5. Resveratrol has many cell protective characteristics and is also anti-inflammatory. It is great for people who have diabetic kidney disease since it helps to improve their overall kidney function.

6. Probiotics - The use of probiotics for kidney health is now emerging. Basically, probiotics can help persons with impaired kidneys because they contain microorganisms which can actually use the excess built up waste such as uric acid, urea etc which are then excreted via bowel movements.

Herbal & Homeopathic Remedies

There are many homeopathic remedies that have been used for hundreds of years to treat various kidney conditions. Some of the most popular ones include Arsenicum Album for chronic kidney disease, Apis Mellifica for kidney infections, Belladonna for kidney related pain, Cantharis for inflammation, Digitalis, Convallaria etc.

Diet For Kidney Health

In addition to the natural treatments above, you can also improve your kidney health by paying attention to your diet. Firstly, good hydration needs to be a priority so that your kidneys can effectively get rid of waste. Next, you need to eat foods that are good for kidney health. Some of these include grapes, cranberries, berries, seaweed, foods rich in calcium, peanuts, orange juice, lemon juice, apples, onions, cauliflower, garlic etc.

Conclusion

To wrap things up, in order to maintain good kidney health, it is important to make positive lifestyle changes so that your kidneys continue to function well throughout your life. If you have any concerns about your own kidney health, be sure to talk to your local health care provider so that they can access your individual case.

 
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