- Not drinking enough water. Your kidneys need water to function properly. When you don’t drink enough water, your kidneys have to work harder to remove waste products from your blood. This can damage the kidneys over time.
- Eating a high-sodium diet. Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure, which can damage your kidneys. The recommended daily intake of sodium is 2,300 milligrams (mg). However, most Americans consume an average of 3,400 mg per day.
- Eating a high-sugar diet. A high-sugar diet can lead to obesity, which is a risk factor for kidney disease. The American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day and men get no more than 36 grams (9 teaspoons) per day.
- Being overweight or obese. Excess weight can put extra strain on your kidneys. If you are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight can help protect your kidney health.
- Smoking. Smoking damages blood vessels, including those that supply blood to the kidneys. This can lead to kidney disease.
- Taking too many pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen can damage your kidneys if you take them too often or in high doses.
- Using illegal drugs. Some illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, can damage your kidneys.
If you have any of these habits, it is important to talk to your doctor about how to reduce your risk of kidney damage. There are many things you can do to improve your kidney health, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking.
Here are some additional tips for protecting your kidney health:
- Get regular checkups with your doctor.
- Control your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Manage your cholesterol levels.
- Get enough sleep.
- Manage stress.
- Stay hydrated.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly.
By following these tips, you can help keep your kidneys healthy and prevent kidney disease.