Keep Your Kidneys Healthy: Avoid These Things

Avoid these things that can hurt your kidneys.

Good kidney health is something for which we should all strive. The kidneys regulate your water and electrolyte balance and help remove waste from your system. If they aren't working well, toxins build up in your bloodstream and make you sick.

Here are some things that can hurt your kidneys, so be sure to avoid them as much as possible.

  1. Too Much Salt

    Consuming too much salt can increase your blood pressure, which in turn can negatively affect the blood flow to your kidneys, causing damage over time. Go easy on the salt at home, and avoid restaurants and processed foods as much as you can to lower your salt intake.

  2. Smoking

    Cigarette smoking can increase blood pressure, too, resulting in possible kidney damage. It also increases a person's risk of developing diabetes, which negatively affects kidney function.

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  4. Alcohol

    Drinking too much can increase the workload on your kidneys, causing damage and decreased function. Ask your doctor how much alcohol is too much based on your age, sex, and other health factors. Avoid binge-drinking because even one episode can cause severe kidney damage.

  5. Dehydration

    Your kidneys need water to do their job. If you are chronically dehydrated, your kidneys will be overworked and more likely to decline in function, possibly eventually failing. Watch your urine to know whether you're staying hydrated enough: it should be light yellow.

  6. Diet Soda

    Women who drink diet pop regularly have an increased rate of kidney disease as they get older. Regular soda doesn't seem to carry the same risk.

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  8. Medications

    Some medications can have negative effects on the kidneys over time or even in the short term. Be sure to ask your doctor before starting any medications. Know the risks and benefits and ask for alternatives if you're concerned.

    Some over-the-counter medications can have serious kidney effects, too. Some anti-heartburn drugs are risky for the kidneys. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

  9. Illegal Drugs

    Drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine can cause kidney damage. Please seek help if you are addicted to illegal drugs.

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