10 habits that can seriously damage your kidneys

Healthy kidneys are essential to a healthy body; they filter waste from your blood and allow you to expel it from your body in the form of urine. Your kidneys also regulate the minerals in your body, produce hormones which that reduce blood pressure and help to produce red blood cells. There are habits, however, that can damage kidneys.
Some common symptoms of kidney problems include changes to your urine, coldness, fatigue, itchy skin, dizziness, nausea and bad breath. But you might be causing serious harm to your kidneys well before any symptoms appear. That's why it's important to maintain good kidney health. Here are 10 key habits to keep in mind:
1. Eating too much salt
WebMD explains that a diet rich in sodium can raise blood pressure and increase the rate of damage to kidneys. It also increases your risk of kidney stones, which cause nausea, pain and trouble urinating.
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2. Overusing painkillers
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, Advil or ibuprofen are some of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, according to Medicine Net. They are safe in moderation, but regular overuse can result in kidney damage and total kidney failure.
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3. Eating too much meat
The National Kidney Foundation explains that protein derived from meat creates a lot of acid in the blood. This can cause acidosis, a condition in which kidneys can't get rid of the acid fast enough. Protein is important for a healthy diet, but it must be balanced out with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
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4. Drinking diet soda
The dangers of drinking diet soda are known, and damage to your kidneys is one of them. A 2009 study of more than 3,000 women showed a link between diet soda and kidney problems. Women who drank two or more sodas every day had up to a 30 percent decline in kidney function.
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5. Not drinking enough water
Water allows kidneys to process and expel waste and toxins from your body. When you're dehydrated, your blood becomes more concentrated and less of it flows through your kidneys. According to WebMD, your urine should be a light yellow color; this is a good sign that you're properly hydrated.
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6. Eating processed foods
Processed foods are high in both sodium and phosphorus, notes the Kidney Foundation. The dangers of too much salt have been described, but high phosphorus intake is also harmful to both kidneys and bones. People who already have kidney damage especially need to limit their phosphorous intake.
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7. Sudden, excessive workouts
WedMD warns against any sudden, major increases in strength training at the gym. It can cause rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which damaged muscle tissue breaks down too fast, dumping waste into your blood that harms kidneys. If you have significantly increased your training and you experience both muscle pain and dark urine despite being well-hydrated, you should see your doctor. Additionally, WebMD warns that anabolic steroids can scar kidneys.
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8. Prolonged use of heartburn medication
A link exists between ongoing use of popular heartburn drugs, according to Science Daily. These drugs, called proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, can cause a sudden onset of kidney problems, even when patients experienced no kidney issues before taking them.
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9. Too much alcohol
If your kidneys are healthy, then it's okay to drink in moderation, according to the National Kidney Foundation. But drinking more than four alcoholic beverages daily has been shown to double your risk of kidney disease, and even a single binge session can cause "acute kidney injury." And if you smoke, there's more bad news.
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10. Smoking
The National Kidney Foundation explains that if you are a heavy drinker who also smokes, you are about five times more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. WebMD adds that smoking worsens blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, the two major causes of kidney disease, and slows blood flow to the kidneys. To top it all off, smoking can interfere with medication you take to alleviate high blood pressure and diabetes, all resulting in increased kidney damage.
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These 10 habits are unfortunately common in the modern lifestyle, but it's vital to look after your kidneys. It's not hard to do: Stay fit and active, drink plenty of water, maintain a balanced diet, cut down on the cigarettes and alcohol, and only take over-the-counter medications when really necessary. Most importantly, be aware of the consequences of these habits so you can make healthy choices.
RemedyDaily.com does not give medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.