Caring for our kidneys

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The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs on either side of your spine. They are located at the back behind your belly and below your ribs. One of our kidneys’ vital functions is to control the sodium balance in our body.

But if our salt intake is too high and the kidneys cannot remove enough of it, this results in high level of sodium in the blood (hypernatremia). This causes the body to store more water, increasing the fluid level in the vessels. Kidneys must then work harder to remove sodium, excess fluid and other wastes from the body. This leads to higher blood pressure in the kidney system that also causes higher pressure in the capillaries of the kidney tissue.

As blood pressure increases, it causes the leaking of protein into the urine, triggering kidney failure. So eating food with high sodium content increases your risk of getting kidney diseases.

Other factors can also cause kidney diseases, such as:

  • Eating food with strong flavours. Foods that are very sweet increase the sugar level in our bloodstream that causes kidneys have to work harder.
  • Not exercising enough. This common lack can lead to many chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure.

These health conditions would also cause the kidneys to work harder, leading to increased risk of kidney failure.

  • Drinking too little water. As the kidneys filter waste out of our body and expel it as urine, it requires water as a medium in the filtration to turn water and other waste substances to urine. If we drink too little water, kidneys may not be able to filter all waste substances, causing that waste to accumulate. If that happens for too long, it will turn into an excess of crystal/ stone-forming substances that become painful kidney stones. If you have the following symptoms, it is suggested that you take a test to measure your kidney function.
  • Swollen feet and legs, feeling easily or more tired, and have less energy
  • Having back pain, especially below the rib cage that may radiate to other areas, such as the abdomen.
  • Abnormalities of urine, such as having blood or foamy or excessive bubbles in urine, or an increased need to urinate particularly at night. Our kidneys are organs that work continuously without pause. We can help take care of them by avoiding lifestyle behaviours that would increase the risk of kidney damage. For our kidneys, there is no way to turn back the clock so care well for them now while you can.

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