The #1 Enemy Of Your Kidneys

Superman has Lex Luthor.  Captain America has The Red Skull.  Reed Richards has Dr. Doom.  Batman has The Joker.  You have ________.

Enemies come in all shapes, all forms.  To maintain good kidney health, you need to be aware of your kidney’s arch enemy, its born nemesis.

The number antagonist of your kidneys is:

Salt-(sea)_B130623

 

A little bit isn’t going to affect much.  However, most of what we eat (esp. at restaurants/drive-thrus/dives) are loaded with salt.  The more we consume sodium in high amounts, the greater our chances of contracting hypertension a.k.a high blood pressure.

According to Mark Stibich, PH.D:

Salt (sodium) is essential to our bodies. Normally the kidneys control the level of salt. If there is too much salt, the kidneys pass it into urine. But when our salt intake levels are very high, the kidneys cannot keep up and the salt ends up in our bloodstream. Salt attracts water. When there is too much salt in the blood, the salt draws more water into the blood. More water increases the volume of blood which raises blood pressure.

 

Here is how it goes:  When your blood pressure is elevated, it causes the heart to pump harder due to the pressure.  The increased pumpage damages blood vessels, in particular, in the kidneys.  The damaged blood vessels in the kidneys cause them to stop removing waste and excess fluid from the body.  (Fun note: the extra fluid in the body then elevates blood pressure and the cycle continues.  Nice.)

Over time, this will lead to kidney damage and end stage renal disease.

Is Salt Evil?

No, not at all.  But you know what they say about too much of a good thing.

If you are aware of your salt intake, check labels, and go for low sodium foods (Not less sodium.  It is not the same thing!) you will be fine.  Drink plenty of water to help flush the extra sodium out of your body.  Also, see if you have a family history of hypertension.  If so, you are at a higher risk.  Also at higher risks are African-Americans, the elderly, and if you are diabetic.

[Sidenote: When I was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclorosis, it wasn’t necessarily due to hypertension.  It was combination of hypertension (I wasn’t even aware my blood  pressure was high until it was much too late), genetics, ethnicity, and apparently, my original kidneys are smaller than what they should be for my size/height.]

But How Can I Know If Hypertension Has Me In Its Clutches?

Here are a few warning signs:

Felek: I have a headache !             Felek: Boli mnie głowa !
Headaches

 

Warp
Dizziness

 

day 38: don't choke!
Nausea/Vomiting

 

0208IMG_9552
chest pain/shortness of breath

If you experience any or all of these signs, please get your blood pressure checked a.s.a.p.  Most pharmacies have a free blood pressure machine you can use, or pay a visit to your doctor.

 

Salt and it’s henchman hypertension doesn’t have to win.  The more we know, the better we can preserve our kidneys and our overall health.  And of course, knowing is half the battle.

 

[Photo credit in order of appearance:  SoraZG, Jaroslaw Pocztarski, Melissa O’Donahue, Agent Magenta, and Jon Tunn.  All photos are through www.flickr.com via a Creative Commons license.]

Tags from the story

4 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *