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The importance of the kidneys

The kidneys are a pair of organs located in back of the abdomen.  Each kidney is about 4 to 5 inches long and about the size of a fist.  Their function and purpose are extremely important.  One of their primary responsibilities is to filter the blood.  Each kidney has approximately one million units called nephrons, each of which serves as a microscopic blood filter.   All the blood in our body passes through the kidneys several times a day.  As the kidneys filter blood they create urine, which collects in the pelvis of the kidney, a funnel shaped structure that drains waste fluid down through tubes called ureters into the bladder.  Through this process of filtration the kidneys also control the body’s fluid balance, pH balance, and regulate the balance of electrolytes.  Likewise, they help maintain the balance of hormones, take charge of the removal of waste, participate in the detoxification process and make hormones and other chemicals that are used to help other parts of the body function properly.  All of these functions synchronize with the brain, other organs, tissues and glands. The kidneys are such important participants in promoting homeostasis and stability in the body that if they fail the health of the entire body is jeopardized, precipitating an early death.

It’s possible to lose as much as 90% of kidney function without feeling any strong symptoms or physical impediments.  Kidney failure however always eventually weakens our health and affects many parts of our body.  Here are some of the conditions that can arise as a result of kidney malfunction:

  1. Pyelonephritis (infection of the kidney pelvis) – Bacteria may infect the kidney, usually causing back pain and fever.  A spread of bacteria from an untreated bladder infection is the most common cause of pyelonephritis.

  2. Glomerulonephritis – An overactive immune system may attack the kidney causing inflammation and some damage.  Blood and protein in the urine are common problems that occur with glomerulonephritis.  This disease can lead to kidney failure.

  3. Kidney stones – Minerals in the urine can form crystals (stones) which may grow large enough to block urine flow.  It’s considered to be one of the most painful conditions.  Most kidney stones pass on their own, but some are too large and need to be treated.

  4. Nephrotic syndrome – Damage to the kidneys causes them to spill large amounts of protein into the urine.  Swelling of the legs (edema) is a common symptom.

  5. Acute renal failure, (kidney failure) – A sudden worsening of kidney function.  Dehydration, a blockage in the urinary tract, or kidney damage can cause acute renal failure.  Depending on the case, acute renal failure can be reversed.

  6. Chronic failure – A permanent partial loss of kidney function.  Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes.

  7. End stage renal disease, (ESRD) – Complete loss of kidney function, usually due to progressive chronic kidney disease.  People with ESRD require regular dialysis for survival.

  8. Papillary necrosis – Severe damage to the kidneys can cause chunks of kidney tissue to break off internally and clog the kidneys.  If untreated, the resulting damage can lead to total kidney failure.

  9. Diabetes nephropathy – High blood sugar from diabetes progressively damages the kidneys, eventually causing chronic kidney disease.  This disease can lead to nephrotic syndrome.

  10. Hypertensive nephropathy – Kidney damage caused by high blood pressure.  Chronic renal failure may eventually result.

  11. Kidney cancer – Renal cell carcinoma is the most common cancer affecting the kidneys.  Smoking is the most common cause of kidney cancer.

  12. Interstitial nephritis – Inflammation of the connective tissue inside the kidney, often causing acute renal failure.  Allergic reactions and drug side effects are the usual causes.

  13. Minimal change disease – A form of nephrotic syndrome in which the kidney cells look almost normal under the microscope.  This disease can cause significant leg swelling (edema).  Steroids are used to treat minimal change disease.

  14. Nephrogenic diabetes – The kidneys lose the ability to concentrate urine, usually due to a drug reaction.  Although it’s rarely dangerous, it can cause constant thirst and frequent urination.

  15. Renal cyst – A benign hollowed-out space in the kidney.  Isolated kidney cysts occur in many normal people and almost never impair kidney function.

Whatever the disease or situation, a key symptom to identify if you have kidney disease is whether you are experiencing serious inflammation in your limbs (arms, legs, etc).  That’s because kidney disease and damage causes water retention in the body.

The best way to prevent and avoid the development of these diseases is to have a healthy diet, ensure sufficient water intake and reduce/manage stress.

Stress affects hormone balance. Since the kidneys produce some hormones, any change in hormonal production can affect this balance.  The kidneys secrete a variety of hormones that help in the following three ways: First, they help regulate blood pressure; second, they promote the production of red blood cells; and third, they assist in calcium absorption.  All kidney functions are essential for our body’s health.  A disruption of normal function will lead to acute failure, which can be reversed.  Disruption in function can also lead to chronic failure which takes more time to heal and can only occur when there’s a total change in habits and lifestyle.  Both acute and chronic kidney failure affects the kidneys’ ability to function, producing inflammation that will be constant and potentially cause autoimmune problems such as lupus.  Here is a list of factors that can lead to acute and chronic kidney failure:

  1. Poor nutrition

  2. Alcohol consumption

  3. Smoking

  4. Chronic stress

  5. Lack of water intake

  6. Lack of sleep

  7. Built up toxins in the body

  8. Pharmaceutical drugs

  9. Over the counter prescriptions

  10. Estrogen entering our bodies by way of synthetic food additives or animal growth hormones.

  11. Drug use

  12. Lack of physical activity

  13. Excess sugar intake

  14. Depression

  15. Consumption of animal fat

  16. Imbalance of neurotransmitters (caused by chronic stress)

  17. Overweight

  18. High levels of cortisol in the body (caused by chronic stress)

You’ll notice that a couple of factors are caused by chronic stress.  Chronic stress comes from the continual firing and activation of the stress mechanism due to unreasonable thoughts (e.g. perceived fears, anger, negative reinforcements, etc).  Under these situations the adrenal glands continue producing adrenaline and cortisol, weakening our immune system.  The adrenals are important participating partners in these physical events and are very close partners with the kidneys in maintaining hormonal balance in the body.

Generally speaking, not much is said about our kidneys, but it’s important that we all understand their importance. Here are some wise tips to keep our kidneys healthy:

  1. Drink 8 – 10 glasses of water a day

  2. Eat 3 healthy main meals and 2 to 3 healthy snacks a day

  3. Avoid eating after 7 PM

  4. Eat breakfast within one hour of waking up

  5. Sleep 7 to 8 hours each night

  6. Avoid alcohol

  7. Avoid drugs, (legal and illegal)

  8. Avoid smoking

  9. Avoid drinking coffee

  10. Avoid eating animal fat and red meat

  11. Drink warm water in the morning when you wake up, with a squeeze of lemon

  12. Drink a cup of green tea or cranberry tea each day

  13. Participate in physical activity when possible

  14. Use Phytotherapi Stress

  15. Use Phytotherapi Kidney and Renewal Therapi

  16. Work on changing how we perceive ourselves, others and the world around us

The majority of what we do from day to day is because of habits and thought patterns.  Negative habits are created because of our lifestyle.  Any negative habit or thought contributes to our health problems and in time will destroy your body.  Just like any habit or behavior is learned, we can retrain ourselves to replace them with healthy, positive habits.  This includes how we think. As we retrain ourselves with positive thought habits, we create new neural circuitry, or in other words, a new network of neurons.  Our bodies and minds have been designed to heal themselves, and they will, if we give them the right tools, nutrition, and training.

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