Summers can be hard for the body, especially the kidneys if certain precautions related to its hydration are not followed. “However, hydration is not merely about drinking water,” Dr Suman Lata, director and senior consultant, Nephrology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital said. Proper functioning of both kidneys is key in maintaining the homeostatic balance of the body and keeping it healthy.
On World Kidney Day, observed on March 11 annually, here are some tips to keep your kidneys healthy.
Consume water-rich food
Considering the fact that we sweat more in summer, keeping oneself hydrated is surely the key. Along with having at least 10 to 12 glasses of water per day, increase the intake of water-rich fruits to ensure required nourishment along with hydration.
Dehydration increases the risk of stone formation; also among the elderly, dehydration increases the risk of kidney injury. Take extra care of children and elders in this regard. Patients already suffering from any kidney problem should follow a food pattern as per the concerned doctor’s suggestion.
Also, always consume balanced meals in summers. Dr Rajesh Aggrawal, senior consultant and chief of action kidney transplant and dialysis department, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute suggested the following measures.
Limit your salt intake
Extra salt consumption increases blood pressure which affects kidney functioning. Try to limit the quantity of salt in your food. Normally, we take 7 to 10 gm salt per day which should be decreased to 4 to 5 gm. In patients with CKD (chronic kidney disease), cardiac issues, portal hypertension, high blood pressure, taking more salt increases the risk of formations of urinary stones.
Although fibre-intake is suggested for better digestion, it is equally beneficial for better kidney functioning. Patients suffering from CKD are also suggested to take more fibre. Add more raw food to your daily meals like beans, peas, berries, melon etc.
Avoid eating out
Foods we eat out are usually unhealthy. Along with food poisoning, indigestion, they potentially add to the risk of kidney infection as well, as they are high in sugar, salt, saturated fats etc.
“Rather, eat healthy food, keep your weight in check, avoid smoking, exercise daily, avoid taking more pain killers like Brufen or voveran,” said Dr Aggrawal.
Dr Sudeep Singh Sachdev, senior consultant and clinical lead – nephrology and renal transplantation, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital Gurugram shared some insights as well.
Avoid overexertion/over-exhaustion of the muscles
It might lead to Rhabdomyolysis. Working out and leading an active life is essential, but try not to overdo it. “Very few people know muscle injury is dangerous for kidney health as well. Severe muscle injury sometimes leads to protein leakage in the bloodstream, which in turn can potentially lead to kidney failure, which is called rhabdomyolysis. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid putting extra pressure on the body with a heavy workout regularly,” said Dr Sachdev.
Avoid unnecessary use of over-the-counter pain killers like Indomethacin, Combiflam, Ibuprofen, Aspirin as these can harm the kidneys especially when taken for a long period of time in heavy dosages.
Keep your blood sugar and blood pressure levels in check and monitor them regularly. If you are diabetic or hypertensive, take your medications religiously as prescribed by your physician. “Both diabetes mellitus and hypertension can damage the kidneys significantly if allowed to progress in an uncontrolled fashion,” said Dr Sachdev.
*“Avoid intake of Chinese herbal or any metal-containing alternative medications as these drugs have been implicated in the progression of kidney (tubulointerstitial) disorders,” said Dr Sachdev.
*The simplest and easiest way to keep the kidneys healthy is to take plenty of water (at least 10 to 12 glasses a day), especially in summers when the chances of dehydration are high.
*Last but not least, never ignore any warning sign or symptom of kidney disease and consult a doctor immediately, in case of
– Any change in colour or consistency or frequency of urination
– Presence of foul-smelling urine
– Foam in urine
– Burning sensation while peeing
– Swelling around eyes, bilateral lower limbs
– Weakness, anorexia, easy fatiguability
– Nausea, the tendency to vomit, vomiting episodes
– Dry, itchy skin
– Detection of new-onset hypertension or anemia (low hemoglobin)
– Back pain or lower abdominal pain