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Kidney Health: It’s worth more than a bunch of beans

By Martha Michael

Working without notice, the kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located at the back of your body that are often kept in the back of your mind. But like the underestimated value of the beans Jack bought before his fabled journey up the beanstalk, their effect on your health can have a huge impact.

what are kidneys

Your kidneys, ureters, and bladder make up your urinary tract, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, or NIDDK. The kidneys are located on each side of your spine and act as a filtration system that removes waste and extra water from your blood. The urine that is formed travels down tubes called ureters and is stored in your bladder.

The kidneys filter about half a cup of blood per minute. They remove waste and regulate an acid produced by your cells that helps maintain the balance of water, salts, and minerals, including:

  • potassium

  • phosphorus

  • calcium

  • sodium

Healthy kidneys also produce necessary levels of hormones that contribute to:

  • Make red blood cells

  • control of blood pressure

  • maintaining strong bones

Your renal artery brings blood to the kidneys, which are made up of nearly a million nephrons, or filtering units, that remove waste and return nutrients to your blood vessels. About 150 liters of blood flow through your kidneys every day, producing 1 to 2 liters of urine.

Kidney disease symptoms

According to an article by the National Kidney Foundation, only 10 percent of the 37 million Americans with kidney disease know they have it. Kidney disease symptoms are often misdiagnosed; They are attributed to other conditions, to stages too late for successful treatment.

To be sure you have kidney disease you need to be tested, but there are some preliminary signs that your kidneys aren’t working properly.

Little energy – When toxins build up in your bloodstream due to poor kidney function, most people experience weakness and fatigue.

Bad sleep patterns – Also due to toxins in your blood, people with kidney disease are more prone to sleep apnea.

Frequent urination – If the filtering system in your kidneys is damaged, you will have to urinate more often, especially at night.

blood or foam in the urine – If your kidneys don’t filter properly, blood cells can leak into your urine; Foam in the urine indicates a high protein content.

muscle cramps – When kidney function is impaired, your body’s electrolytes are out of balance, which can lead to muscle cramps.

puffiness under the eyes – Excess protein in the urine is a sign of kidney damage and can cause the area around your eyes to become swollen.

Dry skin – People with advanced kidney disease may experience itchy skin due to an imbalance of minerals and nutrients in their blood.

Keep your kidneys healthy

Healthy, functioning kidneys should not be left to chance. According to an article on the Cleveland Clinic website, there are a number of habits you can adopt that contribute to kidney health.

Stay adequately hydrated – Drink more water than the normally recommended amount of four to six glasses a day, but not much more. Overhydration has not been shown to be effective in maintaining healthy kidney function.

Eating healthy – Since kidney problems are often the result of health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, your eating habits affect kidney function. Control your weight and keep your blood pressure under control with a healthy diet.

stop smoking -There are many negative effects of smoking and vaping, including decreased blood flow to the kidneys and damage to blood vessels. Tobacco products are toxic, nicotine is addictive, and vapor solutions contain chemicals that can be harmful to your health.

The exercise – Maintaining an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise contributes to your health in a number of ways. Aside from keeping your blood pressure and weight at lower levels, good condition gives your kidneys the best chance to work properly.

Although stories are rarely told about kidneys and their value to your body’s urinary system, they play an important role in healthy functioning. When you consider their importance in filtering waste and returning nutrients to your bloodstream, making kidney health a priority is like protecting the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs.

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