The kidneys are two small bean-shaped organs that play a crucial role in keeping your body healthy.
They are in charge of removing waste and excess fluid from your blood, maintaining the proper balance of salt and water in your body, and creating essential hormones that regulate blood pressure and stimulate the production of red blood cells.
In this article, we will cover the importance of maintaining good kidney health and the steps you can take to care for your own kidneys so that they continue to operate well. However, before we get into these, let’s examine the role that the kidneys play in the human body.
The Roles of the Kidneys
The kidneys are located on either side of your spine, just below your ribcage. They are about the size of your fist and are responsible for filtering waste and excess fluid from your blood.
They are responsible for filtering over 200 quarts of blood each day, eliminating waste materials and excess fluid while simultaneously producing approximately two quarts of urine.
The kidneys are not only responsible for filtering waste and excess fluid, but they are also in charge of maintaining the proper balance of salt and water in the body. They are able to accomplish this by creating hormones that send signals to your body to either retain salt and water or expel them, depending on the requirements of your body.
The kidneys are an essential component in the process of controlling your blood pressure. They produce a hormone known as renin, which helps to manage blood pressure by either narrowing or widening the blood vessels.
They are also responsible for the production of a hormone known as erythropoietin. This hormone stimulates the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.
Because red blood cells are in charge of transporting oxygen to the tissues of your body, having enough levels of this hormone is necessary for maintaining your health.
Common Kidney Problems
Sadly, there are a number of things that can go wrong with the kidneys and make them not work as well as they should. Some of the most common kidney problems are:
- Kidney stones: These are tiny, hard deposits that can develop in the kidneys, and when they do, can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. Most of the time, they are eliminated by urination, although surgical intervention may be necessary in severe cases.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs): Infections of this kind can manifest themselves in the kidneys as well as any other component of the urinary system. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria and can cause pain, burning, and the need to urinate often.
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD): This is a disorder that worsens with time, and as a result, the kidneys gradually lose their capacity to perform their normal functions. CKD can be brought on by a variety of conditions, the most common of which are diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney infections.
- Acute kidney injury (AKI): This is a rapid decrease of kidney function that can be brought on by a variety of factors, such as being dehydrated, taking medications that are toxic, or having an infection.
Taking Care of Your Kidneys
Maintaining healthy kidneys requires vigilant attention to your general well-being. This includes:
- Drinking plenty of water: If you want to keep your kidneys in good working order, you need to drink enough water since it helps the body get rid of waste and toxins.
- Eating a healthy diet: Kidney health can be promoted by eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
- Getting regular exercise: Exercising regularly can assist in enhancing kidney function and decreasing the likelihood of developing kidney problems.
- Managing your blood pressure: Having high blood pressure can cause damage to the kidneys over time, which is why it is essential to maintain proper control of your blood pressure.
- Managing your blood sugar: If you have diabetes, it is vital that you keep your blood sugar under control at all times. High blood sugar can also cause damage to the kidneys over time.
- Avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol: Avoiding harmful habits like smoking and drinking too much alcohol is crucial for protecting your kidneys.
Because of their importance to the body as a whole, the kidneys should be given the attention they need to function well.
You can help support your kidneys and prevent common kidney problems by adhering to a healthy lifestyle such as drinking lots of water, eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, controlling your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol use.