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10 common habits that damage your kidneys

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10 common habits that damage your kidneys

Have you ever come across news of someone suffering from kidney damage? No wonder you have heard that sort of thing at least once in your lifetime. It is because kidney diseases are so common in the prevalent world that everyone has someone related to them suffering from it. What are the causes of the emergence of kidney disease as a common thing? Why do 1 out 10 people in India have some sort of chronic kidney disorder. The answer is not some complicated term, it's habits. We generally do not recognize the power of habits, but they are the building blocks of routine. The reason is that habits are those day-to-day activities; we do not feel resistance to doing. And the thumb rule of every routine is to get to the position where the activities involved in it seem effortless. Also, a routine that remains persistent for more than two weeks becomes a lifestyle. So, to change the lifestyle that causes kidney damage, one must change the basic habits that lead to an unhealthy kidney-damaging lifestyle. Therefore, here are ten common habits that damage your kidneys.

Drinking less water / staying dehydrated  

Drinking less water or staying dehydrated clog the kidneys with muscle proteins and this in turn build up waste in the body. These are the reasons for the formation of kidney stones and the problems associated with it. And when the kidney stones form crystals by sticking together, it leads to serious kidney damage. Water helps you to flush out toxins in the kidneys and thus acts as a fuel for it. Now everyone knows how much water is good, one-half of your body weight in ounces every day.

Holding urine for a longer time

It can primarily lead to urinary tract infections which can lead to kidney damage if not treated at the earliest stage. Holding urine for too long allows bacteria to multiply and thus causes UTI. It also causes kidney stones by not allowing toxins to get out.

Adding too much salt to food

Most people need 1500- 2000 mg of salt every day and this amount is easily attained even without adding salt to the food. A high-salt food disturbs the sodium-potassium balance in the kidneys which is necessary to pull water across the wall from the bloodstream into the collecting duct. Thus, eating too much salt alters the basic functionality of the kidney causing kidney damage.

Not getting enough sleep

Did you know that your body utilizes more protein at sleep in comparison to any other time of day? This is because when you are sleeping, your body is busy recovering muscle damage that happens during the day by any means such as ultraviolet rays from the sun. So, sleep is required also in enhancing the functionality of the kidneys. Also, kidney functioning is synced with the circadian rhythm of the body which is a natural sleep-wake clock of the body.

Overusing painkillers

Mostly, kidney failures are caused in patients who suffer from prolonged joint pain for which they take painkillers and generally intake these medications without the proper consultation of a licensed doctor. Also, this act of careless belief in self-medication is extended to the continued periods of months or even years which add to the factors of kidney damage extensively.

Alcohol intake

The functionality of kidneys is changed by the intake of alcohol which in turn makes kidneys less able to filter blood. Alcohol also dehydrates the body and the effect of dehydration on the kidneys in already discussed above. Excessive alcohol intake doubles the chances of kidney damage.


As prominent taglines like “smoking causes cancer” is not enough for people to understand its harms, let us specifically point out what it can do to your kidneys. First of all, cancer in the kidneys due to smoking is no brainer. Other than this, smoking causes serious damage to your blood vessels leading to poor blood flow to your kidneys. It is the reason for the most common forms of kidney failure.

Eating high protein diet

Although protein is present in most of the food we eat, it is very important to take protein in a balanced form. The reason is that protein increases the rigorous work of kidneys for two or more hours by making them go into hyperfiltration mode. This put a lot of stress on the kidneys and the continuation of this stress can lead them to wear out. You can still have a healthy protein diet by switching to plant-based proteins as they are completely different from animal proteins and act very differently in the body.

Not managing high blood pressure

As kidneys have a primary role in the regulation of blood pressure and high blood pressure damage your kidneys by narrowing the arteries around the kidneys. This affects the functionality of kidneys which in turn increases the blood pressure even more by not being regulated. Furthermore, this downward spiral leads to serious damage in the kidneys.

Not managing your weight 

As a normal body mass index is between 18 and 25, a BMI higher than that can lead to an overburden of work on kidneys. This is because of the simple fact that the more you are, the more toxins in your blood to filter. Moreover, it is a requirement at most kidney transplantation centers for a patient to have a BMI of below 30 if kidney transplantation is needed. Also, being obese can also cause high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. which are all the leading sources of kidney damage.  

For more information contact our specialist

DR. Ravi Bhadania- Kidney specialist, Nephrologist at Alfa Kidney Care