Drinking water has numerous benefits for the human body than anyone knows. It is often taught to us since the beginning of our childhood but with time we often forget and undermine the value of water given how it can lead to kidney disease and affect our kidney health.
Below I’ve explained the importance of drinking water first followed by detailed yet short what kidneys are and how they function? , how drinking water helps exactly for kidneys like preventing numerous problems from kidney stones to maintain digestion and blood pressure and how it can help in daily life problems like weight loss and clear skin. At last, I also attempt to explain other ways one can make in daily life to ensure healthy kidneys.
Why is drinking water important?
Keeping our body hydrated is taught to us since childhood but gets ignored as we grow up. We are often told the benefits of drinking water but are hardly warned about the consequences if we don’t. It includes chronic kidney diseases like painful kidney stones, kidney failure, acne, and low energy levels.
There are a plethora of bad effects of dehydration that start at low levels and if ignored, it can be severe and can be cured only after painful procedures.
Hence, just by developing simple habits like drinking water, regularly we can avoid these complications. So, why make excuses when we can make habits!
What are Kidneys?
Kidneys are bean-shaped organs in our abdomen. You might’ve also heard jokes about selling kidneys to buy expensive stuff or heard emotional stories of people donating a kidney for their loved ones or out of sympathy and volunteer for anyone. All this is because we have two kidneys and our body can survive on one kidney also, but obviously, the human body functions best with two kidneys.
Functions of Kidneys
Kidneys are an indispensable part of our body. Their work is to clean the blood of unwanted chemicals and water and waste. With dehydration, you might’ve noticed that you want to urinate even though you didn’t drink enough or excess water or any fluid for a considerable amount of time. It is because the waste is unwanted fluids and other waste products from your blood.
Every hour on an approx the blood supplies through the kidneys 12 times making almost 200L blood each day. Kidneys work constantly for our body and hence it is important to keep the kidneys healthy.
It regulates blood pressure too. In return, we only have to keep our body hydrated which sounds like a good deal but many people ignore it and suffer almost unbearable pain as a cost.
Although almost all major kidney diseases or problems are curable, why make yourself suffer when you can at least try to increase your water intake and keep your kidneys healthy.
What happens if we don’t drink enough water?
Drinking plenty of water can help in numerous ways to ensure our kidney health and help it function properly.
One can have healthy kidneys if they maintain their overall health and keeps a regular check of plain water intake. We often get confused as to exactly how much water is enough water, the answer is 8 glasses are enough for our kidney function as recommended and one can increase if possible (but not too much water as it can have side effects too!).
Since people usually are prone to severe dehydration, having enough fluids in our body seems like a daunting task in everyday life, but here are some health warnings to get you back on your toes and maintain your kidney health and keep your kidneys healthy. by telling some common kidney diseases if not taken proper care of.
Every disease can become complicated with time so it’s better to address it from the start. If you continue dehydration, the kidneys develop a condition known as prerenal azotemia and if you don’t start reversing the dehydration, it can lead to kidney failure.
The kidneys extract waste from water and it is discharged through urine which will not happen in case of kidney failure leading to less or no urine and other tissues in the body. The procedure to get hydrated becomes painful and people can also be on dialysis.
Although mostly seen amongst senior citizens, it can be very common for anyone not to keep themselves hydrated properly.
Kidney diseases like stones
Another major problem in the United States that can be easily avoided by plain fluid intake is kidney stones.
The urine gets concentrated when dehydrated. The stones grow when urine is concentrated and cause of that the particles stick together and become big with time, so any amount of pain in an early stage is a symptom and should be addressed soon.
If one drinks water, the particles or the small stones can be passed through the urine without any issue but if it grows cause of neglect or any reason, it can be very painful to pass and one might even get hospitalized to get it removed.
If not treated, one can also develop problems like urinary problems, kidney disease, kidney damage, and infections.
Blood Pressure or Circulation
Our blood is 90% water and blood pressure is a force that keeps the blood flowing through our body. Blood Pressure or circulation which contains red blood cells makes sure to take the necessary nutrients or oxygen to our organs and tissues through the arteries, allowing them to function effectively.
It is also a cushion to our brain, and spinal cord so that on getting hurt, these sensitive areas get little or no damage. There is either high blood pressure or low and if you are dehydrated, the blood becomes thick causing low BP and making it difficult to circulate.
Some major problems this can cause can be kidney failure, and problems like brain structure, hormones, and neurotransmitters. Excess dehydration with time can affect one’s thinking and reasoning capabilities too!
Severely painful infections like UTIs or urinary tract infections can be simply avoided by drinking water but if ignored, with time it can lead to infections like pyelonephritis which will be treated only in hospitals with antibiotics.
This occurs when bacteria in the urinary tract increase due to dehydration. With drinking water, it can usually pass through urine effortlessly but longer dehydration leads to urinary tract infections.
What are the benefits of drinking water?
Saliva & Mucus
Water helps in keeping our mouths clean. Saliva ensures we digest our food and keeps our eyes, nose, and mouth moist.
Drinking water, not fluids or liquids like soda, coffee, or tea which are usually sweet or otherwise, can be harmful to our body, leading to problems like tooth decay.
Drinking only water is highly recommended although for taste one can add cucumbers or take mineral bottled water which might help in increasing water intake. The best bottled water you can opt for is mentioned below in the article.
Everyone must’ve heard their favorite celebrities and idols recommending drinking water for better skin or acne-free face. Water makes our skin glow and keeps our skin healthy. With dehydration, one is prone to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
Drinking water helps in regulating body temperatures. When we drink the water is stored in the middle layers of the skin and comes to the surface when sweating. With evaporation, our body cools down.
If we don’t sweat, the heat in our body increases and heat toleration decreases. Regular water intake keeps the cycle going helping the body to maintain a balance in body temperatures.
Due to dehydration, airways get restricted by the body trying to keep the water loss minimum. Dehydration can make allergies and diseases like asthma worse.
Makes minerals/nutrients accessible
When we hydrate ourselves, the nutrients and minerals in our body dissolve and with circulation, reach different and necessary parts of our body.
Everybody knows the benefits of exercising but hardly knows how more water intake can help you achieve your target better!
According to some scientists, hydration keeps us active. Loss of reasoning and logical thinking, and dehydration makes it difficult to focus on activities that are longer than 30 minutes, thus limiting the time of concentration and productivity in our daily life.
Drinking water helps in overcoming hangovers easily as drinking too much alcohol increases the dehydration level leading us to lose water.
If you’re dehydrated, you might’ve started experiencing digestive issues. Dehydration leads to constipation and irregular bowel movements. If not addressed earlier, it can lead to stomach ulcers and heartburn risks too!
As stated and recommended before not add any sugar supplements to water, which might be helpful to develop a habit but in long run, it has to be just water. If that is possible, one might be able to lose weight easily and maintain a healthy weight.
We all took the hard steps to get that shape but having water is the easiest and smallest part of losing weight.
Drinking water before meals, keeps the stomach full allowing you to maintain diet and balance in a healthy way, and with no sugar supplements, it’ll also be calorie-free.
Water lubricates your joints- cartilage, which is present between the bones is almost 80% water so if you drink water and are hydrated well, then joint pains might be just a word for you.
With joint pain, it is hard to do normal things in life including exercise. It is almost the basic key to a healthy life is to stay hydrated.
How can you take care of your kidneys besides drinking water
Regular exercise and physical activity and maintaining a balanced and healthy diet help our kidneys immensely. We can also take care of our heart and weight through this and maintain the low or high blood pressure and blood sugar levels as well.
Keeping a check on your sodium level goes a long way. It is recommended to have a sodium maximum of 2300 milligrams a day.
As it is usually ignored, checking sodium levels on your food packets are often surprising, unlike your expectations and you might want to decrease the sodium intake for better kidneys.
With regular visits and checkups, you can expect to know a great deal about your body and things to do to make it better. With the blood test, you can know how well your kidneys filter. The test is called GFR or glomerular filtration rate, for adults, the score is 90 and higher for children.
You can also get a urine test where you can specifically check for albumin or the blood protein in the urine test, as its presence is not a good omen and you can further check for issues in the kidneys.
The benefits of not smoking or quitting it are widely known and it is always worth trying multiple times than facing its side effects especially if you are concerned about your kidneys and determined to keep them healthy and functioning.
Usually, people smoking are more prone to kidney diseases and kidney cancers. Smoking is considered bad for blood flow to the organs (like kidneys) and on top of that, if one takes medications to manage high blood pressure, smoking can affect those medicines too.
Water is not equal to any other fluid and especially alcohol. High levels of alcohol are not good for the kidneys. One can drink full 8 glasses of water a day but excess alcohol can dehydrate us and the results are just going to be even worse, even if you drink 8 full glasses of water or more.
With today’s lifestyle, it can be hard to quit alcoholic drinks too but one can make efforts to reduce it to keep the kidneys happy. For a woman, one drink a day is enough, and two for men.
A drink in the above context usually means 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, and 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits like rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey.
Recent trends where people are opting for bottled water and spending a hefty amount of money on it is making people wonder if bottled water is the only key to a better and healthy kidney? Well to your surprise no.
For kidneys to function better, it is just important to drink water, which may or may not be bottled, assuming that based on your geography, tap water is not contaminated and is safe and regulated. If it is not safe and contains a high amount of lead, one can opt for water purifiers which are far less financially costing than regularly buying bottled water and is equally healthy.
But one can definitely choose bottled water if they find it convenient and prefer it. It is also the best option for people who are on road for a major part of their day.
It is conclusive to say that maintaining kidney health looks easy but can be difficult yet worthy since it keeps us functioning. With ignorance, one can also have to face situations like kidney transplantation which everyone wants to avoid.
For many, the hardest part of preventing kidney damage and disease control is to stay well hydrated and drink more water and only water but it is the only hard and fast rule to keep the kidneys working properly and maintain our health.
Good hydration in this context means water only, not sugary and sweet drinks and other beverages like soft drinks as it can be a leading cause of other diseases like diabetes. Hence to keep ensure kidney health and prevent life-threatening diseases, staying hydrated water-wise is the key.
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