5 myth and facts about your kidneys

Nowadays there is a crazy drive among people to avoid any kidney disease at any cost. You hear all types of stories and things to do before you even get a disease to worry about. And yes, it is a good idea to be preventive and to manage your kidney’s health in a good way but it should be done in the correct way using the correct food and treatment to get the most out of your life without worrying about a kidney related disease.

There are some very common myths out there that maybe you have even heard around in random conversations. And there are many that are not evening this list. This time we give you 5 myths about your kidneys that may give you a new perspective about these organs and how you take care f them.

Water will wash out your toxins

The myth is that if you drink eight glasses of water your body will detox. I am sure that many of us have heard this before from a friend or close relative. In the real world, there is no evidence to back this up and the amount of urine the body produces has nothing to do with the performance of the kidney. The idea that if you have more urine means that the kidneys are working even better is something that maybe was deduced. But it has no relation whatsoever.   

water-glass-heat-drink-preventing_kidney stones

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We are not saying that water does not help the kidney function well, but it is not directly related to its performance. In places that are very hot, it is better to drink a lot of water because the body tends to use more water than normal. Or if a person has a background of kidney diseases, water can help with the pain in future treatments. But there are no more uses for water in the kidney’s cleansing process.

Calcium causes kidney stones

It is true that kidney stones are made of calcium and that there is a big belief that it is only calcium that causes kidney stones and that is why this myth is so popular. The big losers here are dairy products because people tend to think that they must avoid calcium-rich products. But in the real world, it is not the excess of calcium but the lack of it that affects the body.

The fact is that kidney stones are made from calcium and from oxalate, a substance that is found in vegetables and fruits. Kidney stones are made from these two materials when they get combined. Also, calcium found in natural products is rarely a cause for kidney stones. On the other hand, calcium from supplements does tend to form kidney stones because it does not combine properly with the oxalate and it does not stay in the gut to later be eliminated via feces. Instead, it is eliminated in the urine and here is where kidney stones are helped by calcium to form.

Alcohol and your kidneys

This myth comes from the belief that if you are urinating a lot when you are out partying is a bad sign of kidney overuse. Again, there is no evidence to back this claim up. Maybe a lot of people just confused the fact that the liver is the one that suffers when people drink too much alcohol and not the kidneys.

Or maybe people tend to think that drinking alcohol can affect your kidneys because alcohol dehydrates you in very big and fast ways and dehydration is, in fact, a cause of kidney disease.

It is easy to know when kidneys are suffering and they are not working properly

In fact, it is not easy and not very noticeable when your kidneys are failing. In fact, people don’t notice the disease until it is a bit late to control it or manage it without an operation. People don’t notice the symptoms up until where only 20% of the kidney is working and this is when they start getting the symptom. Urine does not say much about the kidney’s health so it is not trustworthy measurement.

Preventive medicine does not work in kidney diseases

Many people tend to think that kidneys fail for a reason and that it is just impossible to prevent such diseases. The fact is that kidney diseases can be slowed down if patients and people that are at risk understand what is it that elevate their risk factors to the maximum and avoid such things. For example, diabetes and high blood pressure are sure indicators of kidney diseases; old age, smoking cigarettes and obesity are all factors that accelerate the risk of suffering from kidney diseases. Also, a healthy lifestyle plenty of exercise and a good diet is one of the best recipes to prevent kidney diseases.

Be sure to also read this post about What Peritoneal Dialysis is and the available treatments

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Some kidney facts you need to know

In previous articles, we have talked about a lot of topics related to kidney and its functioning, but there are a lot of information around this you need to know and understand for this vital organ.

In this article, we will see significant facts and statistics about the renal system and other concerning information of kidney and its diseases. These stats are very important because it lets us to comprehend in a better way how this vital organ is in the United States, giving us important insights about it.

Before talking about renal statistics and other facts, it is important to describe barely some kidney functioning information and its illnesses for a better insights appreciation.

Kidney and its disease

As we have said in other articles, the kidney is the organ what regulates the body’s fluid levels, cleaning it from multiple toxins and wastes. In other words, the kidney is in charge of filtering and cleaning the blood from multiple impurities. Besides its main function, the renal system releases a vital hormone to regulate blood pressure and produce red blood cells, keeping it in the perfect balance and with the needed minerals, like sodium, phosphorus, and potassium

The kidney is the principal figure for the renal system, being who regulates and controls everything in it. It is in charge for filter impurities in every piece of blood presented in the body. In resume, it is the organ who take all the blood from the body and cleans it to keep it with the correct fluid levels.

Currently, in the United States, there is one in three Americans with risk for suffering some kidney disease, due to their food habits or other conditions, like diabetes, hereditary illnesses, elevated blood pressure, smoking, obesity and alcohol drinking. Presently, in the United States, there are more than 26 million people with some renal failure, where more than the 60% of these affectations is caused by diabetes or elevated blood pressure. These failures are considered one of the deadliest causes in this country, killing approximately 55.000 persons per year, most of them men.

How to detect kidney failure?

Those persons who are at risk for suffering some kidney disease must take periodically blood and urine tests to check if they have renal problems. In addition, those people who have painful urination, dark urine, swollen hands, and feet or elevated thirst, could be at risk for suffering some renal sickness and should take some of the mentioned exams to verify if they have problems or not.

Principal kidney diseases facts

Kidney stones

As we have mentioned in other posts, kidney stones are produced for the accumulation of different minerals in the renal system, producing intense pain for the person who are suffering this illness. Renal stones are formed most of the times for bad food habits or kidney failures.

In the United States, more than 500.000 persons per year are treated in hospitals due to this affectation and more than 60% of them are men. According to some medical studies, one in ten Americans will suffer from kidney stones during their lives.


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This is one of the most serious kidney diseases because it makes that the person who suffers it, requires dialysis processes for the rest of its life. Currently, from the more than 600.000 persons with some renal failure, the 65% of them must live with dialysis. Moreover, the 35% of them have a kidney transplant.

In the United States, there are more than 100.000 individuals waiting for a kidney transplant and just the 20% of these people receive a newly transplanted kidney per year. Every day, more than 10 persons die due to Nephropathy and waiting for a kidney replacement.


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Related: Dialysis: When and what it is by Joe Cosgrove

Principal kidney disease causes

As we mentioned before, elevated blood pressure and diabetes are the two principal reasons for kidney failures, being this last one the main cause among the two of them.

The diabetes is responsible for more than 50.000 kidney failures per year in the United States and there are more than 250.000 persons living with these failures due to diabetes. Presently, more than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, which means a high risk for suffering a kidney disease.

The another principal reason for kidney diseases is the elevated blood pressure, which is been responsible for more than 30.000 kidney failures per year in the United States. Today, there are more than 170.000 persons with some renal illness produced for high blood pressure.

In the United States, there are more than 70 million people with elevated blood pressure, where approximately the 20% do not know it has it.

The facts mentioned in this post are just a little sample of what kidney diseases mean for Americans and what we must expect for these illnesses in the future. These affectations are increasing more and more and we must know and understand them to deal with them in the right way.

What you need to know about the different types of kidney stones

What you need to know about the different types of kidney stones

As it has been mentioned in other articles, kidney stones – or renal calculi- are solid rocks made of different components that always take the shape of crystals. Their size and color can vary depending on the type and causes of the formation, however, most of them are formed in the kidneys, though sometimes they can be originated anywhere in the urinary tract (bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra).

What you need to know about the different types of kidney stones

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Kidney stones are described as one of the most painful medical conditions, commonly affecting the urinary tract and generating a highly uncomfortable feeling for the person who is suffering from them. Given the fact that it is a common affliction, many studies have been done on the subject and a rigorous classification of the different types of stones already exists and it is based on the components forming the rocks.

In this article, Joe Cosgrove will share some detailed information related to the four different types of kidney stones that have been already classified by scientists: calcium, uric acid, struvite, and cystine.

Kidney Stones Classification

For patients who have already had kidney stones, it is very probable that they will develop them again. For this reason, it becomes very important to determine exactly what your stones are made of, that way you will be able to prevent the further formation of these obnoxious crystals.

The best way you have to identify the type of kidney stone your body is creating, is by using a filter when you urinate, this way you will be able to retain the stone and take it to your doctor so it can analyze it and define what type of kidney stone it is. Probably after testing the rock, your doctor will order you blood and urine tests to measure components in both fluids that can be enhancing the generation of kidney stones. Based on your results, your doctor will tell you which component has a higher concentration in your urine and is responsible for the creation of the crystals.

Kidney stones are not always made of the same components. Below you will find a classification of the different types of kidney stones.

– Calcium: The vast majority of kidney stone patients suffer from calcium stones. This is the most common type of crystal formation, affecting 80% of patients who have had kidney stones. They are made of calcium compounds such as calcium oxalate, phosphate or maleate. There are different health conditions that can cause the formation of these rocks, like hyperparathyroidism.

Having a diet heavy in foods rich in oxalate can cause the development of calcium kidney stones. These foods include potato chips, chocolate, spinach, and peanuts. However, there are some medicines that can help patients prevent the formation of calcium crystals.

– Uric Acid: Being most commonly developed by men than women, this type of stone is originated when the urine is too acidic. Often, this type of renal calculi can be developed by individuals suffering of gout, inflammatory bowel disease or going through chemotherapy.

Uric acid is a waste product that should get out or our bodies in the urine. When bodies are not able to eliminate this waste product, kidney stones are originated. Usually, this happens when you have a low urine output or a diet heavy in animal protein (especially red meat) and alcohol.

This type of renal calculi can also be treated with medicine which can help dissolving the crystals.

– Struvite: Causes mainly in women with urinary tract infection, this type of stone can be responsible for urinary obstruction, causing a terrible pain for patients who have developed struvite crystals.

What you need to know about the different types of kidney stones

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People with kidney infections are the most prone to develop struvite stones, thanks to this, they are called infection stones. For this reason, it is very important to treat urinary tract infections properly and in time. Otherwise, the infection can become a more serious medical condition aggravated by kidney sore.

This type of stone is found generally in women with urinary tract infections. These stones can be large and cause urinary obstruction. These stones are usually developed thanks to a kidney infection. Treating an underlying infection can prevent the development of struvite stones.

Medicine can be used to treat the urinary tract infection, nevertheless, in most cases, struvite stones need to be surgically removed with laser procedures.

– Cystine: This is the most uncommon type of renal calculi, occurring only in individuals who suffer from the genetic disorder of cystinuria. This medical condition enhances the leaks of cysteine – a chemical substance that is normally produced in the body- from the kidneys into the urine. As it is a genetic condition, if you have a close relative who suffers from cystinuria, it is important for you to regularly test your urine and make sure that all levels are fine.

Cystine crystals can be prevented or dissolved with medicine, however, if the stone is too big and is blocking the urinary tract, it will need to be removed.

To read more about the different types of kidney stones and what originates them, you can click here.

As you can see, there are many things that can cause the creation of kidney stones, and there are different types of crystal formations that can be prevented. It is important for individuals to have healthy habits such a regular consumption of liquid (2 liters per day) and a healthy diet, especially if they already have a kidney disease that requires a special diet. It is important to notice that no one is exempt from getting renal calculi, therefore we all should try to prevent developing them.