In addition to the cancer risk - not just lung cancer, but also kidney and bladder cancer - and the effects of cigarette smoke on raising blood pressure, there is a direct toxic effect of smoking on kidney function. It is bad on the blood vessels because it accelerates the risk of atherosclerosis, and it also triggers an inflammatory reaction in the kidneys. Stopping smoking can directly improve your kidney health.
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REDUCING EVERYDAY STRESSES IN YOUR LIFE
Everything in the body is interconnected, Up to this point we have only been talking about "body stressors" of the kidneys, including diabetes and hypertension, However, stress in its many forms, including psychological stress, affects our kidney health. Our lifestyles are full of stress; between monetary, economic, family, and work stress, we are constantly being bombarded by it. Most of us have no way of relieving this stress either, and the buildup of tension is not good. One of the added benefits of exercise, in addition to weight loss, is that it can be a great stress reliever. An important aspect of this is taking some "me time" each day; and meditation, yoga, and tai chi are all great ways to fit some in at home, without any special equipment.
Everyone should set aside some quiet time each day, even if it is only for a few minutes. Through meditation, we are able to get centered and, for a few minutes each day, be free from the stresses that plague us. Meditation can take many forms and is different for everyone, but people who do some form of meditation have lower blood pressure, less heart problems, and better overall health. I highly recommend meditating on a daily basis.
More than just a form of meditation, yoga is a great form of exercise. It increases total body flexibility and allows you to get centered. Speak with your doctor before embarking on such a program.
This ancient Chinese exercise emphasizes purposeful but relaxed flowing movements. It is an excellent form of exercise and a great stress reliever. It also has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure, improve flexibility, and relieve chronic pain. Tai chi can be performed by anyone of any age.
UNDERSTANDING WHICH OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS TO AVOID
We talked about commonly prescribed medications and their potentially adverse effects on kidney function. In this section, I would like to focus on common over-the-counter medications and their potential effects on kidney function.
Acetaminophen is a very commonly prescribed over-the-counter medication that is used for the treatment of mild pain, from everything to headaches to joints. Many people are aware of its detrimental effects on the liver, but it is important to remember that over time, it may have an effect on kidney function as well. This is not talked about much, but it usually refers to an effect of taking acetaminophen over years. There are no official recommendations regarding acetaminophen and kidney function, other than, of course, to use as little as possible,
Used for the treatment of chronic pain, this category involves the use of common over-the-counter brands such as Motrin, Ibuprofen, Advil, and Aleve. We reviewed the mechanisms by which NSAIDS can affect kidney function. The same pretty much holds true for all its varieties.
Yet again, this category puts patients and doctors between a rock and a hard place. There are many patients, specifically elderly patients, who are suffering from the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis of the back, hips, or knees. Without the use of the above mentioned medications, they are still in pain. As doctors, we want to make sure we adequately treat the pain, yet want to restrict the amount of NSAID and Tylenol use as much as can be tolerated. It a difficult quandary for both doctor and patient, without an easy answer. There are many natural alternatives, but again, talk with your doctor before trying any new medications or supplements. To find out more, you can check out Reverse Kidney Disease Naturally.