The kidneys are a very important part of our bodies and because of this, we have to learn to take care of them. There are currently over 120,000 people waiting for organ transplants in the U.S. and over 100,000 of those are just kidney transplants. But, why think of that if you could change a couple of things in your everyday life to make sure you stay away from that list.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about the size of your fist. They are located right below your rib cage one on each side. Every day they filter 120 to 150 quarts of blood to provide 1 to 2 quarts of urine that contain waste and extra fluid.
- Kidneys prevent the build up of waste and extra fluid in the body
- Keep levels of electrolytes stable, such as sodium, potassium, and phosphate
- Create hormones that regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells, and keep bones strong
How Do You Keep Them Healthy?
When you have an ache or sharp pain on your back between the lowest rib and the buttocks, this might be your kidneys asking for help. Some people develop a fever, painful urination or blood in urine, nausea, and vomiting. If severe flank pain occurs suddenly then it might be kidney stones. Always contact your doctor for a more precise diagnosis.
There are ways to make sure your kidneys stay healthy and working properly:
- Drink Plenty of Water: By not drinking enough water you are hurting your kidneys and many times when you are not drinking enough you might have pain in your kidneys and even a headache, which are signs of dehydration.
- Keep Moving: It’s important to keep a healthy weight and keep your BMI where it’s supposed to be. If you work at an office where you are sitting down through most of the day, make sure take walks or get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.
- Pass the Salt: When your kidneys are filtering your blood, they are responsible for metabolizing the sodium that you eat. Try to limit your salt consumption because that makes your kidneys work extra hard trying to filter all of that excess salt.
- Limit Protein: You need protein to be healthy, but when you eat too much red meat this increases the work for your kidneys.
- Cut Out Soda: Too many sugary bubbly beverages increase your chances for renal failure.
- No Smoking: Smoking can actually harden the arteries in your kidneys making it hard for your kidneys to work efficiently.
- Get Enough Sleep: The renal tissues renew themselves overnight. Just like you feel refreshed after sleeping, so do your kidneys.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol/Advil): Taking these pain killers excessively or too often can also damage the kidneys.