Maintaining good health includes making efforts to keep your kidneys healthy and avoid kidney stones. Why? Because the kidneys are one of the most hard-working organ systems in your body. Their main role is to act as a purification system for the blood, filtering out and excreting waste products, such as urea and excess sodium, and maintaining healthy fluid and electrolyte balances.
In addition, your kidneys have other important functions in the body; they produce hormones that regulate red blood cell production and blood pressure and activate vitamin D which plays a key role in bone health.
On average, your kidneys will filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood a day and produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid. You can assist this process, and greatly reduce the risk of developing painful kidney stones, by drinking plenty of fluids.
Dehydration can result in the production of urine with a higher concentration of minerals and waste products. This, in turn, can lead to the formation of crystals which can affect kidney function and contribute to certain kidney diseases, including kidney stones.
While there are several factors that can contribute to kidney stone formation, dehydration is definitely one of them. Keeping adequately hydrated can help keep urine diluted, making the risk of kidney stone formation less likely.
Please keep in mind, every individual is different, and the right level of fluid intake depends on a range of factors such as gender, level of exercise, climate and health conditions, such as pregnancy and breast feeding. And please do not aggressively fluid load; rather, sip water a little and often, with a goal equivalent to about 7-8 8oz glasses per day.
Simple lifestyle changes, such as drinking the recommended amounts of fluid (ideally water), will go a long way towards maintaining healthy kidneys in the New Year and beyond.
If you have questions or concerns about your kidneys or kidney stones, call the Urology Group of Princeton at 609.924.6487 or schedule an appointment online. The board-certified physician/surgeons at the Urology Group are experts trained to evaluate your symptoms, perform applicable tests, and develop the proper treatment plan.