Did you know that March is National Kidney Month? Hence, the best time to learn something more about this vital organ in your body. For instance, did you know that you can lead a pretty normal life with just 40% of your kidney function? This is the reason why damage to the kidneys goes unnoticed until it is too late. In today’s fast-paced life, no one has enough time to always choose the healthy alternative. But some of these common habits may be harming your kidneys more than you realize. Read on to find out what:

1. Low Water Intake: We are all so caught up in a high stress, busy work schedule that not keeping the body hydrated has almost become a bad habit. But staying well hydrated is a great way to help your kidneys clear sodium and toxins from the body.It will also help you to avoid painful kidney stones. For most people, barring those with kidney problems, drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day is a healthy target.

2. Lighting It Up: While everyone would have heard about the harmful effects of smoking on the lungs and heart, did you know it was damaging your kidneys as well?People who smoke are more likely to have protein in their urine, which is a sign of kidney damage.

3. Going Heavy On the Salt: Although salt is good for the body, consuming high levels of sodium can increase your blood pressure and put too much strain on your kidneys.So, go easy on those salt shakers. Instead of raising the amount of salt, you can try flavouring your food with herbs and spices.

4. Sleep Deprivation: A good night’s rest might be hard to come by these days when you have loads of office work piling on your desk and your house chores just never seem to get done. But a good 7-8 hours of sleep is necessary for your body to heal and renew itself, including kidney tissues. If you aren’t sleeping enough, it could block your arteries, raise the blood pressure and damage your kidneys.

5. Holding It In: Ignoring nature’s call is a bad idea. If you do, your body and kidneys are retaining toxins which are meant to be expelled. Also, constantly holding it in can lead to pressure on your kidneys and can lead to renal failure or incontinence.

6. Lack of Exercise: If you are in the habit of sitting for long hours every day and skipping out on the exercise, then you already know it is not winning any healthy lifestyle awards. Greater physical activity is associated with improved blood pressure and glucose metabolism, both important factors in kidney health.

7. Not treating Common Infections: We are all guilty of running around for days with an untreated common cold or viral fever. These untreated infections can cause the virus to spread to the kidneys and damage them. Also, pushing your body to work while ill puts a lot of strain on the body and organs, affecting their functions.

8. High Protein Diet: While protein is required for the body, too much protein generates high levels of ammonia which has to be filtered out by the kidneys. The kidney goes into overdrive mode and begins hyper-filtration causing kidney damage.Kidney damage doesn’t happen overnight. It is a gradual process that occurs over several years as a result of some poor lifestyle choices. So, don’t you think it is time to change? Just a few precautions can help you lead a healthy life.