You can’t see them, but you may not know that your kidneys are two of the hardest working organs in your body.
It’s true that kidneys help your body pass waste, but they also are responsible for many more important bodily functions such as keeping your blood clean and maintaining your overall fluid balance.
With that in mind, it’s very important to take care of your kidneys to help prevent things like kidney failure and kidney stones. Kidney.org estimates that each year at least half a million people make trips to the ER for emergency kidney stones removal services. What’s more, it’s estimated that one out of every 10 people will have a kidney stone at some point in life and kidney stones have increasingly become a serious medical issue.
Kidney stones form in the body when your urine is filled with more crystal-forming substance than can be diluted. Anyone who’s passed a kidney stone knows how painful it is.
You may have kidney stones if you notice any of the following signs:
- A frequent need to urinate
- Any burning or pain while urinating
- Going only a small amount at a time when urinating
- Blood in your urine
- Urine that’s smelly or cloudy
- Fever or chills
- Feelings of nausea or vomiting
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent kidney stones from forming and having to visit the hospital for kidney stones removal services. One of the best ways to prevent kidney stones is to do it naturally, making some changes in your diet:
- Hydrate: You’ve likely heard it from every health professional you’ve ever visited: drink lots of water. It may seem like they’re nagging you, but they’re telling you to do it for a good reason. In fact, doctors recommend that you drink about two liters of water a day. Drinking water ensures that you’ve got a high urine output, which helps dissolve those crystals.
An easy way to tell whether you’re hydrated or not is to look at the color of your urine. Dark urine indicates that you’re dehydrated. Ideally you should have clear or pale urine.
- Eat more calcium: One of the most common types of kidney stones that forms is a calcium oxate stone. These can be prevented by adding more calcium to your diet. Adding more milk, cheese and yogurt is a good way to get more calcium, but you can also pick up a calcium supplement for tomorrow.
- Cut out salt: One of the worst things you can do for your kidneys as it relates to your diet is to eat a lot of high-salt (sodium) foods. Salt prevents calcium from being resorbed into your urine and this can ultimately lead to kidney stones. To prevent a trip for kidney stones removal services, read food labels more carefully and cut down on things like lunchmeat, chips and canned foods.
- Cut down on oxalate: Another thing to cut down on in your diet is oxalate-rich foods. Foods like chocolate, coffee, beets and spinach have oxalate, which can bind with calcium in your urine to form stones. A good way to still enjoy these foods is to pair them with calcium rich foods because they’ll bind together before they reach the kidneys.
- Cut back on protein: You may be a meat lover, but too much meat and foods with high amounts of animal protein can increase acid levels in your urine, which can lead to kidney stones down the road. So try to limit your intake of beef, pork, chicken and fish to help keep your kidneys healthy.
- Be careful about medications: When it comes to avoiding kidney stones removal services and kidney stones services, the medications you take can play a big part in that. Several medications can cause kidney stones including decongestants, steroids, chemotherapy drugs and diuretics. The best way to figure out how to manage your kidney health and your general health is to talk to your doctor.
There’s plenty you can do in everyday life to improve your kidney health. A few simple changes to your diet will help you avoid severe kidney issues and the formation of kidney stones. To figure out the best plan of action for your diet and your overall health, a dietitian, urologist services and your primary doctor can offer plenty of good advice.