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Five major causes of kidney damage

Unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices can lead to kidney damage without showing signs or symptoms until the organ is badly damaged.

Deepa Gupta | New Delhi |

There are many causes that are linked to an increased risk of kidney disease. The only way to know how well your kidneys are working is to get them tested.

Kidney disease often has no signs and symptoms until your kidneys are very badly damaged. Help protect yourself against kidney disease knowing its causes and eradicating them from your life to the best of your ability.

Causes of kidney diseases:

Genetic factors: Kidney disease runs in families. If any of your parents, grandparents or a close relative suffers from kidney disease, your chances of getting this disease rise. Also, diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney disease and these two conditions also run in families. Thus your genes can make you more at risk for kidney problems. If you have a family history of kidney disease, speak to your doctor about getting tested.

Unhealthy diet: Diet which is high in processed foods, red meats, sodium, sugary foods and sweetened beverages can lead to kidney damage. Also, if you eat less healthy foods including whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy, the chances of developing kidney disease rise. Unhealthy diet develops protein in the urine which damages the kidneys. Eat healthy foods and say no to an unhealthy diet.

Obesity: Obesity is associated with various type of kidney diseases. If you are overweight or obese, you have a greater risk of developing diabetes or high blood pressure which further leads to kidney disease and kidney failure. Being overweight can also directly affect your kidneys. The extra weight forces the kidneys to work harder and filter wastes above the normal level which again cause the risk of kidney disease.

Smoking: People who smoke are 60 per cent more prone to suffer from kidney disease. There are two main reasons behind it- smoking slows the blood flow to the kidneys which can cause kidney issue or worsen the problem if it already exists. It can also have an adverse effect on the medicines used to treat high blood pressure. When blood pressure is not properly controlled, it leads to kidney disease.

Alcohol consumption: Consuming alcohol can have a bad impact on kidneys. It decreases their efficiency to filter the blood. Drinking can also lead to high blood pressure which is again a cause of kidney disease. Medication for high blood pressure is also affected badly due to alcohol consumption which results in high blood pressure and thus unhealthy kidney functioning.

Eat well, quit smoking and drinking, and maintain a healthy weight to save your kidneys. You cannot change your genes but you can certainly choose to live a healthy lifestyle to lower your risk for kidney disease.