How to Take Care of Your Kidneys and Prevent Kidney Ailments

Kidneys are bean shaped organs located in your abdomen. The main purpose of the kidneys is to remove excess fluids and wastes from your body. This action is performed by a minute structure in the kidneys known as Nephrons.

Kidney ailments damage these nephrons and make your kidneys unable to remove wastes. Common kidney ailments include Kidney stones, Diabetic nephropathy, Chronic kidney disease or Kidney failure.

Factors that may increase your risk of chronic kidney disease include – 

  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart disease.
  • Smoking.
  • Obesity.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Family history of kidney disease.

Measures to Prevent Kidney Diseases

Lifelong efforts to control blood pressure and diabetes may be the best way to prevent chronic kidney disease and its progression to kidney failure.  Follow these tips and prevent kidney disease:

  • Eat meals that are low in fat and cholesterol.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Keep your blood sugar and blood pressure under control.
  • Avoid eating too much salt or potassium.
  • Give up smoking and alcohol intake.
  • Limit fluid intake.
  • Eat less protein.

Ayurvedic Medicines for Prevention of Kidney Ailments and Healthy Kidneys

The following ayurvedic medicines and help prevent kidney ailments and improve the functioning of the kidneys:

Dashamoola Kashayam

Punarnavadi Kashayam

Mustadi kashayam

Brihatyadi Kashayam

Gokshura

Chandraprabha vati 

Vastyamayanataka grita

Herbal tea to strengthen your kidneys

  • Grind and mix equal amount of musta, fennel seeds, cumin and coriander seeds. Boil 1 tsp of this powder in 1 glass of water and reduce to half glass. Drink twice a day.
  • Prepare a mixture of Punarnava – 1 part, gokshura – 1 part, fennel seed – 1 part. Take 1 tsp of this mixture 2 or 3 times a day after meals with warm water.

Warning for the habitual pill-poppers!

Over-use of any drug may cause kidney damage. A drug that causes damage to the kidneys is called as a ‘nephrotoxic drug’. Any sort of damage to the kidneys can make them inefficient in filtering out the toxins they are exposed to everyday. These toxins then start accumulating in various tissues of the body and can even cause death. Most people are habitual pill -poppers, assuming nothing untoward will ever happen to them. A study highlighted that use of over-the-counter and prescription medications led to acute kidney failure and analgesic nephropathy. 

Improper and prolonged use of below drugs may damage your kidneys –

  • Painkillers or analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as aspirin and ibuprofen may lead to end stage kidney disease.
  • Drugs such as captopril, used in high blood pressure have shown to favour renal failure.
  • Antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, vancomycin and sulphonamides.
  • Drugs like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine that are used to treat malaria.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis drugs including infliximab.
  • Few anticonvulsants that are used to treat seizures.
  • Chemotherapy drugs.
  • People who are diabetic or have cardiovascular diseases often take multiple medications which increase their chances of kidney damage.
  • Intake of few dietary supplements may also be a cause.
  • Even though ayurvedic medicines have no side effects, few metallic preparations which are not purified according to the norms may affect the kidney if taken for long duration and in heavy dose.

Prevention of Kidney Damage 

Since you may not be able to avoid taking medicines under certain conditions, here are a few ways in which you can reduce damage to your kidneys-

  • Avoid self medication.
  • While taking over-the-counter drugs, check labels for warnings.
  • Avoid habituating yourself to particular medicines such as sleeping pills or painkillers. Instead follow a healthy lifestyle, meditation and natural therapies like shirodhara, abhyanga, etc.
  • Long-term consumption of drugs should be only under medical supervision.
  • Make sure you are taking appropriate dosage.
  • Drink adequate fluids to flush out the toxins.
  • Consume natural foods to avoid artificial nutrition supplements.
  • Use herbal or ayurvedic medicines under proper guidance of an ayurvedic physician.

According to Ayurveda, there are thirteen types of natural urges in the body which should not be suppressed. These are the natural calls from body, which a person must attend to, as and when they appear in order to maintain the balance in the body and to prevent the manifestation of diseases. Urge to pass urine is one among them.

In our modern lifestyle, we find ourselves forcefully suppress the urge for urination while travelling due to unavailability of toilets, watching a favourite show in TV, etc. Prolonged suppression causes:

  • Pain in bladder and genital region.
  • Pain and difficulty in micturition.
  • Headache.
  • Stone formation.
  • Distension of lower abdomen.

Avoid the suppression of the urge to urinate and prevent diseases.

Superficially the function of the kidney seems to make urine, but it is no exaggeration to say kidneys are the master chemists to maintain our internal environment. A healthy outside starts from the inside. Follow a healthy lifestyle to protect your kidneys.

Additional Reading: 

Painkillers and the Kidneys

An Overview of K-Crush for Kidney Stones

Know Your Body: Spotlight on Kidneys

Chronic Kidney Diseases – An Ayurvedic Perspective

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