The kidneys are one of the most important organs in the body which is why we need to keep them healthy at all times. The main symptoms of kidney problems are changed quantity and color of the urine, breathing problems, nausea, anemia, fatigue, bad breath, feeling cold, pain and itchy skin.

Unfortunately, some common habits are responsible for kidney damage – here are some of them below:

  1. Insufficient water intake

Not drinking enough water can severely harm the kidneys. When your body lacks water, the blood is more concentrated and there’s less blood flow to the kidneys, which results in impaired kidney function and accumulation of toxins in the body. The recommended daily amount of water is 10-12 glasses. Drinking this amount will keep your body hydrated and your kidneys healthy.

  1. Delaying the urge to urinate

Not peeing when you need to can damage your kidneys as well. This causes the urine to remain in the bladder, allowing bacteria to multiply and cause a urinary tract infection. So, the next time you need to pee, do so as soon as possible.

  1. Drinking too much alcohol

Alcohol is a toxin for the kidneys which can harm their function if you drink too much. This habit stores uric acid in the renal tubules, obstructing them and increasing the risk of kidney failure. Alcohol also dehydrates the body, which is why you need to stick to the recommended amount of 2 drinks a day.

  1. Regular use of analgesics

Regular use of analgesics and over-the-counter painkillers to lower inflammation and fever can damage the kidneys and other organs. According to studies, these pills decrease blood flow to the kidneys and impair their function, and long-term use can cause acute kidney injuries or interstitial nephritis. People with reduced kidney function should consult doctors before taking painkillers, and should take them for the shortest time possible.

  1. Smoking

Smoking is bad for the whole body, and its relation to kidney damage has been confirmed by many studies. The American Association of Kidney Patients lists smoking as the number one cause of end stage renal disease, which shows just how dangerous it is. Smoking also increases the heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and kidney disease as well.

  1. Lack of sleep

People usually ignore lack of sleep, but proper rest overnight is vital for your overall health. Not sleeping enough prevents the body from renewing tissues, which may lead to organ damage over time.

  1. High salt intake

Consuming too much salt can damage the kidneys beyond repair. 95% of the sodium is metabolized by the kidneys, and by consuming too much salt, your kidneys will work harder to excrete it. This causes kidney damage and leads to other health problems.

  1. High protein diet

Eating excessive amounts of red and processed meat can increase the risk of kidney damage and disease. The kidneys are responsible for metabolizing and eliminating nitrogenous waste from the body, a by-product of protein digestion. High protein intake raises the glomerular pressure and hyper filtration, increasing the metabolic load of the kidneys and the risk of kidney disease.

  1. Too much caffeine

We all love coffee, but too much of it can increase the blood pressure and overwork the kidneys. Long-term, this can cause kidney damage and raise the excretion of calcium in urine, effectively resulting in kidney stones as well.

  1. Ignoring common infections

Ignoring colds, the flu, tonsillitis, pharyngitis and other infections can result in kidney damage. People with kidney disease often miss to report being sick, but if you don’t treat the infections, the viruses or bacteria may damage your kidneys beyond repair.