Maintaining your kidney health – Focus Supplements

On average, in the UK, it’s estimated that around 7.2 million people have chronic kidney disease in stages 1-5. Every day, around 20 people in the UK develop kidney failure.
Which is a huge figure.

Trust us, you do not want to be in those statistics. After all, your kidneys are an important organ that can filter waste from blood, regulate pH, salt, and potassium levels, and even produce hormones that control blood pressure and production.

When it comes to thinking about organ health, many overlook their kidneys. However, they are important in keeping us healthy, and red blood cells are crucial for our overall health.
Dive in with us as we explore the factors affecting kidney health to understand better how to protect and maintain these vital organs.

Basic overview of kidneys

The body has two kidneys, each shaped like a bean, on either side of the spine. Each kidney measures about five inches in length, almost three inches in width, and one inch in thickness, roughly the size of a fist.

Our left kidney is slightly higher and larger than the right one, which is somewhat lower and smaller to accommodate the liver. The ribs protect these essential organs. Inside the kidney is a complex network of tiny units called nephrons, the true powerhouse of kidney function.

Each kidney contains between 1 and 1.3 million nephrons, microscopic units that filter excess fluid and dissolved particles from the blood. The effectiveness and precision of the nephrons ensure that the body maintains the necessary balance of fluids and electrolytes.

How do kidneys work?

The basic function of the kidneys begins when you eat and drink. After the body takes the nutrients from food and beverages, waste products and excess substances are left behind in the blood. This is where the kidney steps in.

The kidneys filter blood and remove waste products and excess substances, which are excreted as urine. They also activate a form of vitamin D that helps the body absorb calcium, an essential component for bone health. Thus, the kidneys play an important role in overall health and wellbeing.

Factors that negatively affect kidney health

In order to look after your kidneys and have a great overall wellbeing, then you must be conscious of a few factors that might impact your health and cause damage. Here are some factors that can negatively impact your kidney health:

Not drinking sufficient water
When hydrated, your kidneys help remove sodium and toxins from the body. Dehydration can lead to kidney stones and urinary tract infections, which, if left untreated, can harm kidney function. So stay within your 1.5-3 litres a day target!

Having foods high in sugar
If you eat too much sugar, you can become obese, which can increase your risk of developing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, which are major contributors to kidney disease. Therefore, pay close attention to the labels on the food you buy to avoid adding sugar to your diet.

Tobacco use reduces blood flow to the kidneys and can cause significant damage over time that increases the risk of kidney disease. Those who smoke are more likely to have protein in their urine, a major sign of kidney damage.

Excessive alcohol consumption
If you drink heavily and regularly, i.e. having more than four drinks a day, you could be at high risk. Heavy drinking can lead to dehydration and high blood pressure, which are major risk factors for kidney disease.

Consuming a lot of meat
When you eat a lot of animal protein, a lot of acid is generated in the blood, which can be really harmful to the kidneys. In fact, it can cause acidosis, a condition where your kidneys can’t eliminate the acid quickly. So always remember to have a diet balanced with fruits and vegetables.

Having a high sodium diet
Consuming too much salt can raise blood pressure and strain the kidneys, leading to kidney disease. Processed foods are high in sodium and unhealthy fats, which can quickly increase blood pressure and strain the kidneys.

Overusing painkillers
Frequent use of non-prescription pain relievers like NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can cause kidney damage. If you use NSAIDS, try to reduce your regular use and never exceed the recommended dosage.

Missing out on sleep
Poor sleep habits can negatively affect kidney function. The body relies on sleep to repair and regenerate tissues, including the kidneys.

Genetic Factors:
Some people are genetically predisposed to kidney diseases, and certain inherited conditions can directly affect kidney function.

Certain Infections and Illnesses
Conditions such as chronic urinary tract infections, HIV, and hepatitis can negatively impact kidney health.

Prioritise Kidney Health for a Healthier Future!

Kidney transplants are the most common treatment for end-stage kidney disease, with 56% of patients receiving transplants in 2021. The remaining patients are treated with hospital dialysis (36%) or home-based dialysis (8%)​​​.

Healthy kidneys are important for your overall wellbeing. These fantastic organs filter waste, balance fluids, and help regulate critical bodily functions. Detecting kidney disease early can save lives by allowing for timely treatment. You can prevent or delay kidney failure with the right medications, lifestyle changes, and early visits to a kidney specialist.

Taking care of your kidneys is easier than you might think. Stay informed about what affects kidney health and make simple changes in your life that support kidney health. Your kidneys work hard for you, so taking good care of them is essential.

Do you care about the health of your organs? Check out our other post on maintaining lung health.

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