Stress and depression can compromise your internal organs—from your stomach to your brain. They can also have negative effects on your kidneys. One in three Americans is at risk for kidney disease. Stress and depression can increase the risk of kidney disease or exacerbate kidney problems.
What Do Kidneys Do?
It’s your kidney’s job to make urine and remove excess water as well as waste from your blood. Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys can’t filter blood and remove waste the way they should. Over time the waste builds up in the body leading to kidney failure and other health problems.
Stress and Kidneys
While a little stress is normal, prolonged periods of stress can indirectly hurt your kidneys. When you’re stressed your blood pressure increases and you’re more likely to pick up unhealthy coping habits such as eating junk food (which are high in fat, salt and sugar), consuming alcohol, and exercising less. This can contribute to diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The high blood sugar and high blood pressure can strain your kidneys and lead to kidney damage. This is just one of the reasons why stress reduction is so important.
Depression and Kidneys
It’s not just stress that can impact your kidney health. One study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN) researched the correlation between depression and kidney disease. The researchers studied more than 5,700 people over the age of 65 for a 10-year period. By the end of the study, the researchers found that depression was associated with an increased risk of future kidney failure. In fact, depression was 20 percent more common in individuals with kidney disease than those without.
Protect Your Kidneys
In short, reducing your stress is important for preventing kidney disease. Classic stress relief methods such as meditation and breathing exercises can help keep you relaxed. Staying hydrated, getting plenty of exercise, and eating healthy foods will not only help reduce your stress, but it can also help keep your kidneys in tip-top condition.
Your kidneys play an important part in your everyday health, the kinder you are to them the better you’ll feel.