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Aug 18, 2016

Kidney Stones/Disease Can be Horrendous! Ease it with Natural Tips!

Kidney disease is a growing problem. Anyone can develop kidney disease, regardless of age or race. The main risk factors for developing kidney disease are Diabetes, High blood pressure, Cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease, and a family history of kidney failure. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney disease.
These conditions can slowly damage the kidneys over many years.

Let’s First Understand-

What are the kidneys and what do they do?

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. Every day, the two kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid. The urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder through two thin tubes of muscle called ureters, one on each side of the bladder. The bladder stores urine. The muscles of the bladder wall remain relaxed while the bladder fills with urine. As the bladder fills to capacity, signals sent to the brain tell a person to find a toilet soon. When the bladder empties, urine flows out of the body through a tube called the urethra, located at the bottom of the bladder. In men the urethra is long, while in women it is short.

Why are the kidneys important?

The kidneys are important because they prevent the build up of wastes and extra fluid in the body keeping levels of electrolytes stable, such as sodium, potassium, and phosphate making hormones that help regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells, and bones stay strong.

How do the kidneys work?

kidney is not one large filter. Each kidney is made up of about a million filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron filters a small amount of blood. The nephron includes a filter, called the glomerulus, and a tubule. The nephrons work through a two-step process. The glomerulus lets fluid and waste products pass through it; however, it prevents blood cells and large molecules, mostly proteins, from passing. The filtered fluid then passes through the tubule, which sends needed minerals back to the bloodstream and removes wastes. The final product becomes urine.

Kidney Disease Basics

Kidney disease is a general term for any damage that reduces the functioning of the kidney. Kidney disease is also called renal disease.

Kidney disease means that the kidneys are damaged and can't filter blood like they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in the body. It can also cause other problems that can harm your health.

For most people, kidney damage occurs slowly over many years, often due to diabetes or high blood pressure. This is called chronic kidney disease. When someone has a sudden change in kidney function—because of illness, or injury, or have taken certain medications—this is called acute kidney injury. This can occur in a person with normal kidneys or in someone who already has kidney problems.

Early kidney disease has no signs or symptoms

Knowing the symptoms of kidney disease can help you get the treatment you need to feel your best.

Changes in Urination- Kidneys make urine, so when the kidneys are failing, the urine may change. How? You may have to get up often at night to urinate. Urine may be foamy or bubbly. You may urinate more often, or in greater amounts than usual, with pale urine. You may urinate less often, or in smaller amounts than usual with dark coloured urine. Your urine may contain blood. You may feel pressure or have difficulty urinating.

Swelling- Failing kidneys don't remove enough fluid which then builds up in your body causing swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, face and hands.

Fatigue- Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin that tells your body to make oxygen-carrying red blood cells. As the kidneys fail, they make less erythropoietin. With fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen, your muscles and brain become tired very quickly. This condition is called anaemia which can easily be treated.

 Skin Rash/Itching- Kidneys remove waste from the blood stream. When the kidneys fail, the build-up of waste products in your blood can cause severe itching.

Metallic Taste in Mouth/Ammonia Breath- A build-up of waste products in the blood (called uraemia) can make food taste different and cause bad breath. You may also notice that you stop liking to eat meat, or that you are losing weight because you don't feel like eating.

Nausea and Vomiting- The severe build-up of wastes in the blood (uraemia) can also cause nausea and vomiting. Loss of appetite can lead to weight loss.

Shortness of Breath- Trouble catching your breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways. Firstly, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And secondly, anaemia (a shortage of oxygen-carrying red cells) can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.

Feeling Cold- Anaemia can make you feel cold all the time, even in a warm environment.

Dizziness & Trouble Concentrating- Anaemia related to kidney disease means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen. This, combined with uraemia, can lead to memory problems, trouble with concentrating, and dizziness.

You may not feel any different until your kidney disease is very advanced. Blood and urine tests are the only way to know if you have kidney disease. A blood test checks your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which tells how well your kidneys are filtering. A urine test checks for protein in your urine. A blood test that measures serum creatinine, a waste product, can indicate how well the kidneys are working. Although normal levels of creatinine vary (an average range is 0.6-1.2 mg/dL), a higher than expected level in the blood may indicate kidney damage. A blood urea nitrogen (BUN) blood test measures waste products circulating in the blood. Normal levels range from 7%-20 mg/dL.

Follow these natural remedies to keep your Kidneys Healthy-

In case you have kidney stones- Do this- Lemon Juice and Olive Oil (My Personal Favourite)- Mix ½ Cup of organic olive oil with ½ Cup of lemon juice. Drink it straight followed with water. Lemon will help in dissolving the stone and olive oil will aid in lubrication to pass the stone much easily.

Punarnava- It   helps to promote health of the urinary tract and also helps to maintain efficient kidney function. It possesses diuretic properties and supports the body's ability to remove fluids. It helps in water retention caused by any reasons which can be liver, kidney and heart problems or even venous insufficiency.

Turmeric- Turmeric is a potent natural remedy that can resolve kidney infection and speed up the recovery process. Turmeric contains an active ingredient known as curcumin which is a strong anti-bacterial agent. Curcumin is also an anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal agent that helps in inhibiting the growth and spread of all kinds of microbes.

Dandelion Root- Organic Dandelion Root is a great kidney tonic and cleanser. Taking up to 500 mg twice a day may be beneficial.

Nettle Leaf Tea- It is also a powerful diuretic with anti-bacterial properties. Drinking two to three cups of Nettle Leaf tea per day will work wonders to flush minerals and toxins out of the kidneys, halt the growth of existing stones, and discourage formation of new ones, all the while helping to prevent urinary tract infections – another known cause of kidney stones.

Horsetail- Horsetail tea is an effective natural remedy for kidney stones. Drink up to 3-4 cups of horsetail tea daily or 2 grams of the herb in capsule form daily.

Pomegranate Juice- We’ve all heard that pomegranates have many health benefits. But, more specifically, the seeds and juice of pomegranates can be considered another natural remedy for kidney stones. This may be related to their sourness and astringent properties.

Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic- Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar helps prevent oxidative stress of the kidneys and liver by increasing the body’s levels of antioxidant nutrients. It also works to balance blood sugar levels and reduce blood pressure for optimum kidney health.

Eat Berries- Berries are especially rich in antioxidants, powerful substances which have been shown to prevent kidney stone formation and even slow the progression of kidney disease. Enjoy strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and more daily for kidney health. In particular, cranberries are fantastic fruits to beat urinary tract infections and may even help prevent excess calcium oxalate in the kidneys.

Uva Ursi- Uva Ursi is a common folk remedy for kidney stones. Not only will it help fight off infection in the kidneys, but it may also help reduce pain and cleanse the urinary tract. 500mg three times a day is recommended for kidney stones. But cautions that it should be taken only for short periods of time — five days or less — as it could cause liver damage.

Eat Beets- Beets contain betaine, a strong antioxidant that increases the acidity of urine. In turn, this helps the kidneys remove calcium phosphate build-up. Iron, folate and magnesium are all present in beets too – which help the kidneys and blood flow.

Watermelon- This water-rich fruit hydrates, acts as a mild diuretic and is rich in lycopene, a nutrient which boosts cardiovascular health. All of these contribute to well-functioning kidneys.

Basil- A kidney tonic, basil tea can be taken throughout the day for overall kidney health. If you have kidney stones, try taking one teaspoon each of basil juice with raw honey daily for up to six months. It’s believed that folk remedies with pure basil juice can help induce stone expulsion from the urinary tract.

Eat Alliums- Members of the allium family, like onion and garlic, make the perfect salt replacement as they impart so much flavour to food. They’re also rich in antioxidants, fight inflammation, support a healthy heart and lower blood pressure.

Parsley- It helps flush kidneys of all toxins, treats kidney stones and relieves the pain of urinary tract infections. Boil parsley in 2-1/2 glass of water and let it cool. Drink morning and evening.

Ginger- Ginger is a popular herb that has several uses. It is also an effective cure for kidney infections. Ginger contains an active ingredient known as gingerols which is an antibacterial agent that inhibits the spread of bacteria within the kidneys.

Some More Tips-

Avoid Processed Soy Foods- It’s well recognized that non-fermented soy foods can contribute to a number of health issues. Research shows that these foods also promote kidney stones in people who are already prone to them. That’s because soy contains high levels of oxalate.

Unhealthy food intake is a primary cause of kidney stones. Cut down on the amount of soda and energy drinks you consume. Avoid processed foods and alcoholic beverages. Add more fruits and veggies to your diet, especially those listed above.

Limit Supplements and Medications (if not needed) - Avoid synthetic supplements if you can, and aim to get your nutrients from a balanced diet. Likewise, if you can cut down on taking OTC medications then do so, as they put additional strain on the kidneys. Pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen have been linked to an increase in the risk of kidney damage and eventual kidney failure if taken in high doses.

Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels- A high level of blood glucose is a big threat to kidney health. In fact, around half of those with diabetes go on to develop kidney damage. Diabetics should have their kidney function tested regularly, and everyone else should ensure they keep blood sugar balanced throughout the day. Because a high sugar diet can affect the absorption of calcium and magnesium, it contributes to kidney stones. Sugar also leads to weight gain which is another factor in poor kidney health.

Control Your Blood Pressure- High blood pressure is the most common cause of kidney damage so maintaining normal levels is imperative – not just for kidneys but for preventing stroke and heart attack too! When combined with other factors like diabetes or high cholesterol, raised blood pressure levels are even more likely to cause damage to the kidneys.

Exercise- Exercise, particularly cardiovascular exercise in the form of running, swimming, Zumba etc is vital for overall health. It keeps your heart healthy and ensures good blood flow to all the vital organs – including the kidneys.

Lose Weight- If you are overweight or obese, your chances of developing diabetes or high blood pressure are greatly increased – conditions which are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure. And, if your excess weight is mostly around your waist, you’re more likely to suffer health problems than if you carry it on your hips.

Cut Caffeine- Coffee has a number of scientifically proven health benefits but too much of anything can be bad! Overconsumption of caffeine leads to dehydration, a leading cause of kidney stones, so stick to just one or two cups a day.

Limit Meat- It is recommended to limit the amount of red meat, organ meats and shellfish in your diet as these contribute to stones through the build-up of harmful uric acid. Good meat alternatives include beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

Combine Calcium & Oxalate Rich Foods- Kidney stones are often formed by calcium (found in dairy, leafy greens, seafood and fortified foods) and oxalate (found in leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, nuts and more). However, foods containing these substances also happen to be quite nutrient rich and important for overall health so eliminating them completely from the diet isn’t a good idea. Instead, it’s recommended to consume calcium and oxalate-rich foods together in the same meal so they can bind to one another before being processed by the kidneys. Try a green smoothie of spinach and calcium fortified almond milk.

Potassium- In certain kinds of kidney disease, potassium is removed in abnormally large quantities by the kidneys and excreted in urine. Eating more foods such as bananas, dried beans and peas, nuts, and potatoes that are high in potassium or taking a potassium supplement pill help reverse this effect. Take it only in case of deficiency.

Magnesium- Studies show that people with recurrent kidney stones who took magnesium supplements had a 92.3 percent improvement rate in reduction of kidney stones. Take it only in case of deficiency.

Reduce Salt Intake- Too much sodium can have a negative impact on kidney health as it increases the amount of calcium the kidneys need to filter, leading to a higher risk of stones.

Bathe in Epsom Salt - Bathing in Epsom salts serves to protect the kidneys in a variety of ways. Firstly, it helps boost magnesium levels in the body. Secondly, it aids detoxification through a process called reverse osmosis, which sees salt and toxins pulled out through the skin. You’ll also be easing stress, a cause of high blood pressure.

Multivitamins- When you have kidney disease you will have lower levels of vitamins in your body than you need, so you may need to take a number of different vitamins including: Multivitamins, Folic acid, and Vitamin D. Especially, patients, who are on dialysis, commonly lose much of the water soluble vitamins through the dialysis machine. Folic acid is important for many of the metabolic functions of the body. The kidney is responsible for converting the vitamin D that is in your body into the active form of vitamin D. People with kidney disease lack the ability to produce the active form of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium and for bone health which is important to prevent the parathyroid glands becoming overactive. The parathyroid (PTH) glands are small glands in your neck that control calcium levels in your body. People with kidney disease can have PTH levels that are too high. One of the major functions of Vitamin D is to lower PTH levels. However, it is recommended to take advise from your doctor before starting on any multivitamin as some of these preparations may contain too much of the fat soluble vitamins.

Take Probiotics- Good bacteria in the gut – known as probiotics – improve immune function and help the kidneys process waste.

And Last but not Least,

Quit Smoking- Smoking damages blood vessels and decreases blood flow in the kidneys which means they are unable to function at their optimal level. Smoking also raises blood pressure and the risk of kidney cancer.

(NOTE: If you follow these home remedies and monitor the way that your body is functioning, you can live a better life. However, it is a very serious health condition, so it is a good idea to see a doctor and get professional help.)

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