People don’t tend to think about them unless they notice a problem or feel pain… what are they? Kidneys. One of our most important organs, kidneys do more than many people understand. And because March 13 is World Kidney Day, Crystal Clear Bottled Water thought we ought to give people a short overview on what kidneys actually do for our bodies, diseases that can attack the kidneys, some helpful tips to keep them happily functioning, and why water is the best kind of hydration for them.
What do Kidneys do?
Kidneys are basically the wastewater treatment plants of the body. One of the main purposes of our kidneys is to filter the toxins and waste that accumulate in our bodies and bloodstream. Toxins can enter our bodies in a lot of ways: chemical reactions occurring in the cells of our bodies produce residual waste, which the kidneys filter out. Certain things we ingest, like medications and alcohol, also need to be cleaned by our kidneys. Other functions of the kidneys include removing extra water from our blood, as well as the regulation of our blood pressure, and production of red blood cells and activation of Vitamin D for the health of our bones.
Throughout everyday our kidneys control the salt and water content in our bodies so our blood pressure maintains a steady level. They also manage blood stream saturation of minerals to control blood acidity.
In short, kidneys make urine, control the chemical balance of our bodies, control our blood pressure, are essential to bone health, make our red blood cells, activate Vitamin D, and act as our body’s waste water treatment plant.
Kidneys are essential to life.
When kidneys become unhealthy due to a variety of reasons ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure, there is a progression of problems and diseases that can come about. Below are just a couple of issues that can directly affect the kidneys.
Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD is the loss of kidney function over a period of time. This process can take months or even years, and there are usually no symptoms in the early stages. According to worldkidneyday.org, between 8 and 10 percent of the adult population have some form of kidney damage, and every year millions of people die prematurely of complications related to Chronic Kidney Disease.
Acute Kidney Injury
Occasionally a person will have a change in kidney function that comes out of nowhere; this can happen to a person that has healthy kidneys or someone that already has issues with their kidneys. Acute Kidney Injury is a sudden change that can happen because of illness, injury or certain medications.
Simple Steps for Healthy Kidneys
You hear it all the time – be active. Eat healthy. Don’t smoke. We have provided a list of tips from the National Kidney Disease Education Program that is specific to keeping your kidneys functioning in a healthy way:
- Keep your blood pressure at the target set by your health care provider. This can delay or prevent kidney failure.
- If you have diabetes, control your blood glucose level.
- Keep your cholesterol levels in the target range.
- Take medicines the way your provider tells you to. (Important! Certain blood pressure medicines called ACE inhibitors and ARBs may protect your kidneys. Ask your health care provider for more information.)
- Cut back on salt. Aim for less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day.
- Choose foods that are healthy for your heart: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Be more physically active.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- If you smoke, take steps to quit. Cigarette smoking can make kidney damage worse.
- And of course, DRINK LOTS OF WATER!
Practicing healthy habits, as well as early detection, are essential to helping delay or even reverse kidney damage.
How Does Drinking Water Help Your Kidneys?
The human body can survive a couple of weeks without consuming food, but it can only last a few days without ingesting fluids. Unlike our own stored body fat that can feed our system when there is no food available, our bodies have no way to store the fluids it needs to replenish the blood in our system. And because we are constantly losing fluids through sweat, from breathing, and from our urine and feces, being without liquids can quickly become dangerous.
Water is the best way to hydrate because it contains no calories, no sugars, it is readily available and it’s inexpensive, especially when you partner with Crystal Clear Bottled Water to get it. Because water is free from most minerals including sodium and potassium, your kidneys don’t have to do as much filtering as they would with certain other types of liquids. With Crystal Clear Water they will have to work even less because our water is filtered and purified. Also, if you drink plenty of water your kidneys won’t need any extra help from the liver to detoxify your bloodstream. This helps your liver function to its fullest because it isn’t helping another organ do its job.
In short, kidneys are our forgotten heroes. They help our bodies function in a myriad ways, and water is one easy thing we can do to help them keep it up.
Until next time,
~The Water Blog