7 innocent mistakes that put your kidneys in trouble
If your kidneys aren’t working properly, you could raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Here are seven things you may be doing that could jeopardise the health of your kidneys.
You’re a fan of packaged food
Most processed food is chock-full of sodium, which isn’t just bad for your heart, it can lead to kidney problems. When you’re showing signs that you eat too much salt, your body needs to flush the sodium out when you wee, and it takes calcium with it. In turn, having too much calcium in your urine increases your risk for kidney stones, says nephrologist Dr James Simon.
In Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council has set an ‘Adequate Intake’ of sodium at 460–920 mg per day (equivalent to about 1.15-2.3 g of salt), however because on average we consume about 10,000 mg of sodium, the suggested dietary target is 1600 mg (equivalent to about 4 g of salt). One teaspoon of salt equals 2300 mg of sodium – 700 mg higher than the dietary target.
Check the nutritional label on processed food, you’ll be surprised just how quickly sodium can add up. In fact, processed and fast food is where more than 75 per cent of the sodium we consume comes from. “People look at carbs and fat and kilojoules, but they don’t pay attention to sodium,” says Dr Simon.
Your blood pressure is out of control
High blood pressure is hard on your whole body, including your kidneys. “Kidneys are basically one big set of blood vessels with urine drains,” says Dr Simon. “If you have high blood pressure in your big blood vessels, you have high blood pressure in your smaller blood vessels.” Letting high blood pressure go unchecked could damage the blood vessels leading to your kidneys, plus scar the organs themselves.
Could you be at risk of high blood pressure and not even know it? Here are six sneaky causes of high blood pressure.