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How painkillers, salt and diabetes affect your kidney

By Dr Manoj Arora
March 14, 2019 10:30 IST
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The right amount of sodium intake, medication and water consumption can help manage your kidneys, says Dr Manoj Arora.

How to protect your kidneys

Photograph:  Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Over 850 million people worldwide suffer from kidney diseases that are chronic in nature (2.4 million deaths per year; 6th fastest growing cause of death) and acute (1.7 million deaths per year).

In India, the incidence rate of end-stage renal disease is estimated to be 229 per million population and more than 1,00,000 new patients enter renal replacement therapy annually.

The rising incidence of chronic kidney disease is expected to pose major problems for healthcare providers and the Indian economy in future years.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study ranked chronic kidney disease in 2016 as the 16th leading cause of ailment in the country and added that by 2040, renal failure could well be among top five ailments.

Dr Manoj Arora, senior consultant, department of nephrology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh shares a few insights on how to take care of your kidneys better:

Common habits which may damage your kidney:

  • Overusing painkillers
  • Abusing the salt shaker
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Missing out on sleep
  • Eating too much meat
  • Smoking
  • Diabetic and Hypertension patients not checking kidney functions routinely

How smoking affects your kidneys

Smoking can lead to worsening your kidney damage in multiple ways.

Here's a list of what it does to your body:

  • Increases blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reduces blood flow in the kidneys
  • Increases production of angiotensin II (a hormone produced in kidney)
  • Narrows the blood vessels in the kidneys
  • Damages arterioles (branches of arteries)
  • Forms arteriosclerosis (thickening and hardening of the renal arteries)

How junk food affects your kidneys

Processed and junk food cause glucose to accumulate in your blood.

When the blood is unable to produce enough insulin to neutralise the same, it can lead to obesity and Type 2 diabetes which may damage your kidneys.

How alcohol affects your kidneys

Alcohol has multiple effects on the kidney.

It dehydrates the organ making it difficult for the kidney to remove waste from the blood

Alcohol also leads to high blood pressure and liver disease causing the kidneys to malfunction.

How to be 'water wise'

You must try and consume at least eight glasses of water in a day.

The objective is to ensure that adequate amount of water consumption takes place,  leaving the body with enough water intake to survive and thrive.

In cases of kidney failure, restriction of water is required if there is a fluid overload.

In some cases, too much water leads to a condition called hyponatremia -- wherein the sodium levels in the blood is diluted, causing the person to feel weak and dizzy.

Remember your body needs to produce 1.5 litres of urine every day.

The colour of urine can indicate a lot about your overall health. For example, dark yellow urine suggests dehydration, jaundice; light yellow or colourless indicate that the body is functioning properly

Drinking enough water also helps produce more urine, which helps to flush out infection-causing bacteria. '

Sufficient intake of water helps prevent kidney stones.

Beware of pills and procedures that are not medically proven or tested.

Drinking extra water with certain medications or before and after procedures with contrast dye may help prevent kidney damage.

Besides drinking adequate amount of water, it is important to maintain your sodium intake, balance vitamin D and lead an active lifestyle.

 Lead image published for representational purposes only.

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Dr Manoj Arora