When it comes to our major organs, our kidneys are often overlooked. We tend to think about the brain, heart, lungs, and liver and the impact of keeping these healthy, but the two fist-sized organs located in the back don’t tend to be given much of a thought. But as with all elements of the human body, the kidneys perform a very important function and so ensuring that they’re kept healthy will keep everything running smoothly overall. Here’s what you need to know!
What is the function of the kidneys?
The kidneys are essentially your body’s waste filtering system, they rid waste and return vitamins, amino acids, glucose, hormones, and other vital substances into the bloodstream. The waste is then excreted as urine. Because the body requires a very specific level of these salts and chemicals, properly functioning kidneys will keep blood pressure at a normal level.
What can go wrong when the kidneys don’t work well?
When the kidneys aren’t working properly, harmful toxins and excess fluids can build up in the body- this may cause the symptoms of kidney failure. These symptoms can include high blood pressure, extreme tiredness or lethargy, persistent headaches, swelling in the face and ankles, fluid retention, and/or lower back pain. Because the urethra is linked to the kidneys, simple urine infections where bacteria travels back up the tubes can lead to kidney infections which can be very dangerous. Some people are more prone to these infections than others, but there are things you can do to avoid them. Drink plenty of water, maintain good hygiene, and if you (or someone you’re looking after) uses a catheter then this needs to be put in correctly. Sites like Coloplast have more information on catheters and their proper usage.
What can you do to look after them?
Living a generally healthy lifestyle is the best way you can look after all organs in your body. This means a balanced diet, an active lifestyle, and enough sleep. Give up your dangerous vices such as binge drinking and smoking. Having regular blood pressure checks is a good way to keep tabs on how your kidneys are holding up, if this is too high, medication or lifestyle changes can bring it down. Avoid urine infections since these can spread to your kidneys, and seek medical help if you have signs of infection since this will need to be treated. Taking a multivitamin along with a regular healthy lifestyle can be useful too, this can act as a backup plan to make sure your body is getting all of the right vitamins and minerals every day.