Packed on the either side of your abdomen, one of most essential organs of your body are your kidneys. Although no organ of our body is more important than the other, unfortunately in considering an ailment, the emphasis on heart and brain takes precedence over kidneys. Regarded as the filters of the human body, the kidneys perform the vital function of removing waste products, stimulating the production of red blood cells and maintaining the healthy balance of acids, bases and salts in the body.
Contrary to the widely held view however, these bean shaped structures are indeed much more resilient. If one of the two present in the body are donated or damaged, the person still can continue with all the necessary functions and can lead a normal and healthy life. Nevertheless, no matter how critical and crucial they are, very little is known about them in popular perception which leads to a number of misbeliefs and doubts. Thus, this blog has been aimed to discard some of the fallacies that people might hold on in relation to this organ.
Kidney stones are caused by a high calcium diet:
A common misconception that many people harbor is that since kidney stones are made of calcium, restricting the intake of the same in the diet will prevent them. This, in fact, is not true. Stones are formed due to the combination of calcium and oxalate. This oxalate is a substance that is found in most of the vegetables and fruits. When accumulated in the urine, it combines with the calcium filtered from the blood and they eventually leads to the formation of stones. However, on the other hand, increasing the calcium in the diet leads to it binding with the oxalate in the gut itself which is then safely excreted through feces. But nevertheless, there is a caution. Matthew Sparks of Duke University warns that although raising calcium in the diet can prevent the formation of stones, taking calcium supplements may not. He states that” This form of calcium does not combines with oxalate as actively as it is absorbed in the blood, from where it is excreted into urine.
You will come to know about your kidney trouble easily:
If your Kidneys are sick, you will come to know of it: Contrary to this widely believed concept, the trouble in the kidneys can be deluding. Until and unless there is a stone or an infection, kidneys will hardly hurt. This cannot even be known by the amount of urine one makes. It is proven that a person will continue to make urine even though his or her kidneys have failed.
This essential drawback makes the detection of kidney diseases difficult. There is however a way out. A simple blood test that measures the amount of toxins and waste products in the blood stream will tell the physicians how well the kidneys are working.
You can also get to know if there is a certain number of proteins that shouldn’t be there if your kidneys were functioning perfectly, through a urine test. “As kidneys get damaged, you develop high blood pressure, and as you get high blood pressure, you can damage your kidneys,”
Kidney diseases are incurable:
This particularly is a myth that even medical practitioners fall prey to. If people are made aware of the factors that lead to kidney diseases it is possible to prevent or at least slow down the problems.
Diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes are closely associated with kidney problems. As per findings by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is at least one adult of 3 with diabetes that have chronic kidney problems. And in case of high blood pressure patients there is one of five people that have chronic kidney disease. It is also believed if these two problems can be controlled, the risk of kidney disease decreases on its own.
Other factors that might lead to kidney diseases are obesity, smoking and old age. If you have a family history of kidney diseases it is ideal to get regular check-ups done. Otherwise, healthy diet, exercise and proper hydration adds on the good health of kidney.
[Also read: Guidelines on Renal (Kidney) Transplantation]
Alcohol is a major reason why kidneys get damaged:
Just because you’ve been spending pretty much a lot of time in the loo, you cannot conclude that the amount of liquor you gulped has led to overworking of your kidneys leading to damage.
But don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say that alcohol is not at all harmful. Though alcohol has direct effect on the lever, but shouldn’t affect the kidneys as long as you are having moderate amount of it, as told by Goldfarb (kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania). In fact there are no evidences that goes in the favor of this myth. An article published in 2014 reviewed many studies and couldn’t find any conclusive evidence that either showed harmful effect or benefits of moderate alcohol consumption on the functioning of kidney function.
Langham (of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia)s says “The advice is to drink a glass of water between every glass of alcohol,” as people tend to get hydrated because of alcohol and this also leads to more fluid loss from the body via urine-pass if compared to normal days.
Drink lots and lots of water and get rid of toxins:
This is the most common myth perhaps that encourages you to drink at least six to eight glasses of water in order to detox. Sadly, there is no scientific evidence supporting it. Stanley Goldfarb is a kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania, who says that drinking lots of water only leads to increasing of the volume of urine. He also said “The kidney is a complex filter and how much water you drink does not affect how well this filter works.”
Robyn Langham of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, said there is an exception for this myth, like if someone has a history kidney stones development then water can be sheer savior. On talking about the importance of water, she stated that water helps fight dehydration especially those living in extreme weather conditions. Otherwise, drinking more water is not going to help your kidneys work any better or any worse,” she said.