Don’t we all want to live a good and healthy life? And if we could do so by taking care of a specific organ in our body, how easy would that be? I am talking about kidneys, the most fundamental organs of the human body.Mostly functioning in a pair, our kidneys are constantly working to ensure smooth and efficient functioning of the human body.
Kidneys are such an important part of the human body that the blood flow in the kidneys is higher than the blood flow in heart, liver and brain.
Before we look into the basic steps of how to keep our kidneys healthy, we first need to understand why it is important to have healthy kidneys.
The 5 most important and major functions of the kidneys include:
1. Regulation of fluid volume: Excreting excessive fluid in the body through the urine. Hence, poor functioning of the kidneys lead to swelling of the legs and face due to accumulation of excess water in the body.
2. Excretion of toxins and waste products: Nitrogenous wastes (urea) is excreted by the kidneys in the urine which accumulates in the body from different foods we eat.
3. Manufacture of Vit D: That is important for the regulation of calcium levels in the body. It is vitamin D that enables us to absorb calcium from our foods and dairy products making our bones and teeth strong.
4. Manufacture of red blood cells and blood: Kidneys are known to produce an important hormone called Erythropoietin which is used for manufacturing blood cells in the body and to keep our haemoglobin levels within the normal range.
5. Regulation of blood pressure: High BP can affect the kidneys and as a vicious cycle, damaged kidneys can negatively affect the BP and cause it to rise. Kidneys play an extremely important role in regulating our BP.
How do we keep our kidneys healthy?
• First and foremost, by regularly getting urine and kidney function tests done in order to ensure that everything is running smoothly in our body and if not, to catch kidney damage in early stages.
• By maintaining our blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control in order to avoid constant damage to our kidneys. According to World Health Organisation, by 2030, 2 out of every 5 people (i.e. 40 per cent) suffering from Hypertension or Diabetes or both would also be suffering from irreversible kidney damage.
• By avoiding long-term use of strong self-prescribed pain killers i.e. NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like: Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, for mild to moderately bearable pains, unless prescribed by a doctor and antibiotics like: Gentamycin, Amikacin, etc.
• By making good and healthy dietary decisions of drinking plenty of water during the day in order to facilitate the filtration of toxins and waste products in the body by the kidneys, by reducing salt intake and by avoiding daily over-consumption of red meats (beef, mutton), which tend to have a damaging effect on the kidneys.
Kidneys are amongst the most integral part and organ of the human body because long-term damage done to them is irreversible and comes with major health complications and very poor quality of life.
Treat your relationship with your kidneys as a marriage – do not take them for granted; you look after them and in return your kidneys will take care of you.