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An unhealthy diet can lead to cysts, stones and possibly cancer.

BY Viory Janeo

JUNE 2011

Skip the sodas and don’t binge too much on the beer. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day instead. Take it easy on the amount of salt that you put in your every meal. While you think that indulging in these can go a long way in partying with your buddies, the truth is they will make your kidneys sick.

Kidneys in trouble

Kidneys are two small, fist-shaped organs which act as filters and are responsible for the removal of toxic waste and excess fluid from the body. If your kidneys don’t function as they should, toxic wastes that are trapped in your body will lead eventually to various ailments.

Here are some common kidney-related illnesses as described by the U.S. National Institutes of Health:

  • Kidney Cancer. Kidney cancer develops when there is an abnormal change in the kidney cells. This happens when the cells begin to divide and grow uncontrollably at an abnormally rapid rate which develops into a cancerous tumor. Adults aged 55 and up are at greater risk of developing kidney cancer, as are men more than women.

  • Kidney stones. These are formed when jagged mineral deposits or crystals combine. They block the flow of urine, causing severe pain and the release of blood during the act of urination. The incidence of kidney stones is higher in hot and humid environments because they contribute to dehydration. For this reason, it is important to drink from two to three liters of water each day to prevent their formation.

  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD). This is a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts in the kidneys. These cysts are filled with fluid and resemble water balloons. They cause the kidneys to enlarge and alter their structure, resulting in reduced kidney function and kidney failure, usually after many years. At this stage, dialysis or a kidney transplant is required in about half of those with the most common type of PKD.
  • This disease can also cause problems in other organs, such as blood vessels in the brain and heart.

Other risk factors

Check your family history. If chronic kidney disease, hypertension, coronary heart disease, or detection of protein or blood in urine runs in your family, you may be prone to acquiring a kidney-related illness. If you suspect you may be predisposed to kidney disease, see your doctor who may run the following tests on you:

• blood pressure measurement;

• urine test for protein in the urine;

• blood test to measure how well your kidneys are filtering waste; and

• blood test for creatinine, a waste product that healthy kidneys remove.

For  more information about how to kidney and the prevention of the illnesses related to it, check out the June 2011 issue of Health Today now available on the newsstands.


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