7 Interesting Facts About Kidney Health
- Posted on: Mar 20 2019
A few of the procedures our clients sometimes need include what’s known as KUB (Kidneys, Ureter, Bladder) X-Rays and CT scans of the Abdomen and/or Pelvis to look at the kidneys. March happens to be National Kidney Month and because of the procedures we do, we know a few things about these bean-shaped organs! Today, we’re opening the can of beans and sharing seven interesting facts about kidney health.
1. These “Beans” Have A Function
The primary function of your kidneys is to remove the waste products and the excess fluids that are in your body. The kidneys filter and return to the bloodstream roughly 200 quarts of fluid in the span of 24 hours. Around two quarts of this fluid is removed from the body by way of urine that moves to the bladder, and is ultimately excreted from the body. Most people urinate between six and eight times a day. However, if you are consuming more than 64 oz of water a day, it’s not abnormal to urinate 10 times or more per day.
Additional functions of the kidneys are to remove drugs from the body, balance the fluids in your body, release hormones that will regulate your blood pressure and control your body’s production of red blood cells, and activate vitamin D.
2. You Need To Hydrate For Good Kidney Health
The old standard was 8 glasses (8 cups) of water a day for good kidney health. This might not actually be enough for most people depending on how active they are. The National Kidney Foundation reported that most “men need approximately 13 cups (3 liters) of fluid daily and that women need approximately 9 cups (2.2 liters) of fluid daily.”
If you are working out and sweating a lot, or spend time in an excessively hot/humid climate, you’ll likely need to increase the amount of water you consume per day. Are you worried you’re not drinking enough water? Your urine color may help signal you that you need to drink more. If yours is dark yellow, you need to drink more water. The ideal “color” of your urine should be light yellow or colorless.
3. Smoking Can Harm Your Kidneys
Believe it or not, smoking can actually slow the flow of blood to your kidneys, potentially impairing their function. In fact, if you smoke, your kidney cancer risk is roughly 50 percent higher than a non-smoker. And most people thought smoking only impacted the lungs, throat, and heart!
4. Certain Drugs Can Reduce Kidney Function
Just two drugs that can negatively impact kidney function are over the counter painkillers ibuprofen and naproxen. If you’re reaching for these daily, talk to your doctor about potential kidney risks from prolonged use.
Additional drugs that can potentially harm your kidneys include:
- ACE inhibitors
- Various antibiotics
- Some diabetes medications
- HIV medications
If you are prescribed any medications or are taking over the counter drugs, it never hurts to discuss the possible impact these can have on your kidney health or your health overall.
A quick note about homeopathic and “natural drugs” – Overconsumption of herbs and supplements can be detrimental for your kidneys as well. Always use caution when consuming these. It also may be a good idea to discuss these and their potential impact on your health with your doctor too.
5. Your Diet Can Prevent Kidney Stones and Other Kidney Issues
Kidney stones are one of the most common problems in the urinary tract, and have become more prevalent in men and women over the past few decades according to the Urology Care Foundation as the consumption of processed foods and salt has increased.
Just how common are kidney stones? One in ten Americans will have a kidney stone(s) in his or her lifetime. And, more than half the people who get a stone, will get another within just five years. These can be quite painful to pass, and sometimes are so bad they require surgery.
The good news is medical experts have left no stone unturned in finding a way to prevent kidney stones. Prevention is usually possible with just a few simple changes to your diet. Small tweaks include:
- Drinking enough fluids each day
- Consuming enough calcium, but not too much
- Reducing the amount of salt you consume
- Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day
- Eating foods with low oxalate levels if you have high oxalate levels in your urine – foods with high oxalate levels include beets, spinach, and almonds
- Limiting your daily meat intake (your meat portions should be 8 oz or less, and it’s best to limit your meat consumption to once per day or less)
Tweaking your diet won’t just prevent kidney stones, it can also prevent diabetes, high blood pressure, and a whole host of kidney diseases and other infections and diseases. To learn about what changes you should make to your diet for kidney health and more, talk to your doctor. They can run blood and urine tests to let you know the exact changes you need to make to your diet for optimal function of all of your organs.
6. Exercise Helps Your Kidneys Too
Is there anything exercise isn’t good for? I’m sure by now you’ve noticed most medical advice includes some form of maintaining a healthy diet and fitness regimen. That’s because our body’s function best when we’re consuming the right foods and drinks, and getting enough physical activity.
Why is exercising so important for kidney health? Because it helps you to stave off weight as well as high blood pressure. When we weigh more, our organs, including our kidneys, have to work harder. Don’t overexert yourself, however. Overexertion when working out can do more harm than good. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends at least 20 minutes of moderate-intensity, physical activity per day for adults.
7. The Sooner You Can Catch a Kidney Problem, the Better
When you have your annual physicals, be sure to have your doctor run a urine test as well as a full blood panel to keep an eye on your kidney function. In the event you fear something may be wrong with your kidneys, don’t hesitate to request an X-Ray or CT Scan to get a better look at your kidneys, ureter, or bladder. Early indication of possible kidney issues may help you prevent bigger problems in the future. Here’s to your kidney health!