It’s likely that you’ve already heard that obesity is linked to type II diabetes, but did you know it is also linked to kidney problems?
The Job Of Your Kidneys
Your kidneys are two amazing organs, each about the size of a fist, located in your lower back below your rib cage. Their job is to filter out toxins and waste from your bloodstream, and excrete it through urine. Each day they filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood, and produce 1 to 2 quarts of urine.
Without your kidneys, waste products and excess fluids wouldn’t be removed from your body. Kidney (renal) function is also important for balancing the amount of salts in your body.
The National Kidney Foundation says our kidneys do five main jobs:
- Remove wastes
- Control blood pressure
- Excrete a hormone that tells your bone marrow to make red blood cells
- Keep your bones healthy by creating vitamin D, which is used to help you absorb the calcium and phosphorus your bones need
- Control your body’s PH level so that your body doesn’t become too acidic
As you can see, there are some pretty critical jobs being done every day by these hardworking organs.
What Causes Kidney Problems?
There are a number of causes of kidney problems. An acidic diet is one – people who eat a lot of meat and few fruits and vegetables are three times more likely to experience kidney failure, according to researchers. Aging is also hard on the kidneys, and so are some prescription drugs such as osteoporosis drugs.
Obesity has been shown to be a direct factor in the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). In fact, end-stage kidney disease is on the rise in both the United States and Europe, along with the prevalence of obesity.
“A high body mass index is one of the strongest risk factors”
If you are overweight or obese and have metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and/or diabetes (or even pre-diabetes), your risk is even higher. Medical weight loss programs such as ours that result in reduced body weight, lifestyle changes and increased physical activity can reduce your risk of kidney problems by at least 30%, according to observational studies.
Obesity is also a very strong risk factor for kidney cancer.
Possible Symptoms of Kidney Disease
Here are some of the physical signs to watch out for, which may indicate developing kidney problems. See this article for more detail on these symptoms and how kidney problems can trigger them.
- Fluid retention: swollen feet, ankles, face or other areas.
- Changes in urine: frequency of urination, quantity of urine (much less or more without association to how much liquid you’ve been drinking), dark urine, blood in your urine, foamy or bubbly urine, increase in nighttime urination.
- Tiredness or sluggishness during the day.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Pain in your legs, especially at the back.
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth.
- Itchy rashes.
- Anemia (low oxygen due to low red blood cell production).
These symptoms can also indicate issues other than kidney problems, but if you’re experiencing symptoms that concern you, it’s always a good idea to contact your doctor.