6 Lifestyle Choices that Lead to Kidney Damage


The kidneys play an incredibly important role in the health of the body, constantly straining impurities from the blood and excreting that waste through the bladder whenever a person urinates. Along with the liver, the kidneys are the main mechanism by which the body detoxifies itself naturally and removes unwanted substances before they can cause illness or disease.

Nurturing and supporting the health of the kidneys, therefore, is of paramount importance. One of the best ways to do this is to avoid the lifestyle choices listed below, which do not sound very serious but which over time can lead to kidney damage or disease and seriously affect the health of the entire body.

Chronic Dehydration

Not drinking enough water from one day to the next leads to chronic, low-level dehydration. This, more than anything else, puts stress on the kidneys: since there is not enough water to allow for filtration and elimination of wastes, unwanted substances can accumulate in the kidneys and cause serious problems like kidney stones. (1)

Excessive Salt

Most Americans are of the fact that the national diet is far too high in salt and that is can lead to cardiac problems like high blood pressure. What many do not realize, however, is that a high sodium diet can also damage the vessels in the kidneys and lead to a decrease in function over time. (2)

Avoiding Urination

People often get busy with work or other errands and will sometimes put off going to the bathroom even when they feel the urge. However, deliberately retaining urine on a regular basis can lead to a whole array of urinary problems, including future incontinence, infections and kidney stones. (3)

Excessive Sugar

Studies have revealed a link between excessive sugar in the diet and proteinuria, a condition of having protein in the urine which is an early warning sign that kidney health and function has been compromised. (4)

Sleep Deprivation

This is not an obvious connection, but it is there: people who get less sleep than they should are at higher risk for kidney dysfunction because it is usually at night, when at rest, that the body is able to natural repair damaged kidney tissue. (5)

Nutrient Deficiencies

A nutrient-poor diet which relies on a lot of processed foods and does not include enough fruits and vegetables can deprive kidneys of the vitamins and minerals that they need to function properly and in the long run this can lead to kidney damage or disease. (6)

None of the habits above sounds particularly bad. That is largely, however, because their effects are not always felt immediately; rather, they can lead to kidney damage over the course of time and sometimes people do not even realize there is a problem until it is too late. Avoiding these lifestyle choices, then, is of great importance for continued kidney health.

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Meghan Telpner
Meghan has written many articles about health subjects as a journalist and as a freelance writer. As a reporter, she often covered hospital and clinic events/news and wrote news and features about health topics relevant to people in the community.