When the weather is nice and blue, and the sky is clear, you may sometimes like to wake up in the bright sunshine, go out on a picnic, but sometimes it can be harmful to your health. The scorching heat of the summer sun, especially in the afternoon, can be hard on your kidneys. It can be more dangerous for children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases such as chronic kidney disease (CKD), heart disease and liver diseases. They need to take special care of themselves during these months to stay safe from kidney injury. Even people who do not have kidney disease need extra attention to their kidneys.
That’s why it becomes very important to take care of your kidney in summer. This World Kidney Day, try to incorporate some of these recommended tips. But first understand how heat affects your kidneys.
How does summer weather affect your kidneys?
People get dehydrated during the summer season, especially due to the heat, which leads to various health problems. Acute kidney failure, increased incidence of kidney stones and urinary tract infection (UTI) are some of the common problems that can affect you during the summer season. Furthermore, an intense workout without adequate levels of hydration can lead to muscle injury or rhabdomyolysis, which can lead to leakage of muscle proteins into the blood, resulting in acute kidney failure.
To avoid all this, you need to take proper measures so that you do not fall prey to any unwanted complications.
What can you do to keep your kidneys safe this summer?
If the heat can wreak havoc on your kidneys, the best you can do is protect them by taking precautions.
Here’s what you are advised to do:
1. Stay indoors during the hottest times of the day.
2. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during peak hours i.e. 12-4 pm.
3. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 or higher.
4. Wear cotton and light weight clothes.
5. Watch for signs of dehydration such as dry mouth and throat, low urine output or dark urine, increased fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness and irregular or rapid heartbeat,
6. The color of urine is also a good indicator of hydration levels. Lemon color represents adequate hydration level and orange or any dark color represents dehydration.
7. For people without any chronic diseases, it is recommended to keep fluid intake between 2-3 liters a day.
8. People with chronic diseases like chronic kidney disease, heart diseases etc., should consult their doctors regarding fluid intake. Staying hydrated is important in the summer, but patients with kidney disease need to be careful to avoid excess fluids. The best is to measure the urine volume and add 500 ml to sweat, which should be your fluid intake.
9. People doing workouts should drink 350 ml of water before workout and supplement it every 30-45 minutes.
10. For more intense and longer lasting workouts, sports drinks like Gatorade should be substituted for water in addition to water.
11. People working outside in summer should increase their water intake by 250 ml approximately every 20 minutes to maintain adequate level of hydration.
12. Increase intake of water-rich fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, peaches, strawberries, cherries, cucumber and lettuce to ensure mineral and water replenishment.
13. Avoid carbonated drinks with high caffeine and sugar content as it causes dehydration despite being in liquid form.
14. Minimize your alcohol intake as it can lead to dehydration, which can increase the risk of kidney disease.
15. Reduce the intake of processed foods like chips and ready-to-eat foods as they are rich in salt which can increase the chances of getting dehydrated.
Taking a few precautions can help keep your kidneys healthy and safe this summer.