Maintaining Kidney Health: How To Protect Your Kidneys For A Healthy Life?

Posted On May 25, 2023

5 Min Read

Dr. Vishwanath S

HOD & Consultant - Nephrology, Transplant Physician

Manipal Hospitals - Old Airport Road - Bengaluru

Kidney Diseases and its symptoms

The kidneys are bean-shaped organs below the rib cage on either side of the spine. They are vital organs as they help eliminate waste and harmful toxins from the body, hence preserving the body's health and functionality. However, in some situations, the kidneys may fail to function properly, enabling waste to accumulate inside the body, resulting in various diseases and also death. As a result, we all must take good care of our kidneys for a healthy and longer, fulfilling life.

What Happens When Your Kidneys Fail to Function Properly?

When your kidneys do not function properly, you are more likely to develop other health problems or complications. Gout, anaemia, Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (SHPT), bone disease, heart disease, and fluid retention are all common health problems caused by kidney disease. Thus, it is essential to consult a nephrologist if you have any symptoms or notice any irregularities in the flow of urine to prevent the condition from progressing to kidney failure. 

Symptoms of Kidney Damage

As and when renal damage advances, signs and symptoms become more visible. According to the top nephrologist in Old Airport Road, kidney failure can cause fluid retention, waste build-up, and electrolyte imbalances. Loss of kidney function can lead to any of the following symptoms depending on its severity:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weakness and fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • More or less frequent urination

  • Diminished mental clarity

  • Muscle pain

  • Swelling in the ankles and feet

  • Itchy, dry skin

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

  • Breathlessness

  • Chest pain can occur if fluid builds around the heart's lining.

Causes of Kidney Damage

Acute kidney (renal) failure can occur with insufficient blood supply. Severe dehydration, heart failure, blood loss, liver failure, infections, and other factors can all interfere with blood circulation to the kidneys, leading to kidney failure. It also results from conditions that prevent urine from leaving the body. Kidney stones, bladder cancer, blood clots in the urinary system, and other conditions can restrict urine from exiting the body.

Kidney dysfunction can be caused by high cholesterol levels, viral infections, excessive drug use, raised levels of toxins and heavy metals from drinking alcohol, kidney tumour cells, inflammation of kidney filters, and other factors.

How to Protect Your Kidneys for a Healthy Life?

Prevention is always better than cure, let's look at how you can protect your kidneys from developing renal failure.

What you need to Avoid

  • If you are a regular smoker, it is advisable to quit smoking as it increases the risk of heart failure associated with kidney failure.

  • Limit your alcohol intake. Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to high levels of cholesterol build-up and can also lead to high blood pressure, leading to kidney failure.

  • Avoid heavy consumption of drugs like painkillers, aspirin, and blood thinners. 

What you need to Adopt

  • Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. Regular physical activity has scientifically shown that exercise generates happy hormones that maintain our health while lowering stress and blood pressure levels. 

  • You may also do yoga or meditation, which has proven to reduce stress.

  • Consume a minimum of 3 litres of water daily to avoid kidney stones. It also helps remove all harmful waste from the body.

  • Make below changes in your diet:

    • Include fibrous foods like fruits and green leafy vegetables in your diet daily.

    • Include a few dairy products or substitutes.

    • As a source of protein, include some beans or pulses, fish, eggs, or meat.

    • Ensure consuming minimal quantities of salt, sugar, and saturated fat.

  • Get a daily dose of 7-8 hours of sleep. Good sleep improves brain activity and keeps you healthy. Not getting enough sleep can negatively influence health and contribute to other diseases.

  • Undergo regular renal (kidney) exams as they are the most potent and effective way to detect and prevent kidney disease since kidney diseases frequently go unnoticed and do not manifest any symptoms. 

  • For high-risk individuals who have diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or a family history of CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease), an annual kidney exam is essential. After the age of 40, it's crucial to remember to get a regular kidney checkup.

    • Patients with diabetic conditions must have timely check-ups of their kidney health as the elevated blood glucose levels linked to diabetes can negatively affect and damage kidneys. 

    • Persistent hypertension increases the burden on the kidneys' ability to filter blood and is associated with a higher chance of developing CKD. Therefore, people with high blood pressure should adjust their lifestyle appropriately or use medication to lower their blood pressure.

It is critical to take proper care of the kidneys to avoid any renal diseases. However, if you have kidney illness, don't worry, most kidney ailments are treatable with appropriate and timely treatment. Manipal Hospitals is an excellent kidney diseases treatment centre, treating all forms of kidney diseases. 


Below are some frequently asked questions and their respective answers for more knowledge about the condition:

  • What are the Most Common Symptoms of Kidney Failure?

Shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, confusion, irregular heartbeat, and decreased urine output are common symptoms of kidney failure.

  • How long can a Patient with Kidney Failure Live?

If left untreated, a patient with kidney failure can live up to weeks or months. With treatments such as dialysis and transplant, they can live longer lives like normal people with no kidney damage.

  • What are the Leading Causes of Kidney Diseases?

Excessive drinking, drug abuse, unhealthy diet, and overusing painkillers are some causes of kidney diseases.