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Holding in urine, high caffeine consumption…See 10 common habits that damage your kidneys

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Kidneys are an essential part of the body’s purification system.

For many reasons, it is imperative to take good care of the kidneys but several people are guilty of letting down this important organ.

Here are some of the common ways humans put their kidneys at risk.

Holding in urine

This might sound odd, but almost everyone does it. The urge often comes during a car ride, in the middle of a phone call, or when there isn’t a bathroom nearby.

Holding in urine on a regular basis increases pressure, which can lead to kidney failure and kidney stones. When nature calls, it’s best to listen.

Insufficient water intake

One of the important functions of the kidneys is to filter blood and get rid of toxins and waste materials that can harm the body.

When you don’t drink enough water, those toxins and waste materials start to accumulate, eventually causing severe damage.

High salt consumption

Regularly eating too much salt can also cause huge damage to your kidneys as well as other health problems. The kidneys metabolise 95 percent of the sodium consumed through food.

When salt intake is high, the kidneys need to work harder to excrete the excess salt. This, in turn, can lead to decreased kidney functioning, causing water retention in the body.

Water retention can cause a spike in blood pressure and increase the risk of developing kidney disease.

High protein diet

Consuming an excess of animal protein (especially red meat) increases the metabolic load on the kidneys.

The more animal protein one consumes, the harder the kidneys have to work, which can cause stress and lead to kidney damage.

Sugar overdose

Studies have shown that people who consume two or more sugary drinks a day are more likely to have protein in their urine.

Protein in urine is an early sign that the kidneys are not doing their job properly.

High caffeine consumption

Caffeine can raise blood pressure and put extra stress on the kidneys, just as salt can. Over time, excess coffee consumption (or caffeine consumption) may lead to kidney damage.

Drinking alcohol in excess

Drinking in moderation is fine, but excessive drinking can cause significant damage to your kidneys. Alcohol is a toxin that puts a lot of stress on your kidneys and liver.

Smoking cigarettes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is bad for almost every organ of the body, including the kidneys. Several studies have shown the connection between smoking and kidney disease.

Smoking increases blood pressure, reduces blood flow and narrows the blood vessels in the kidneys. It can even accelerate loss of kidney functions and worsen existing kidney diseases.

Regular use of analgesics

Many of us have the habit of taking analgesics (over-the-counter painkillers) to control pain and reduce fever and inflammation. But this can damage different body organs, including the kidneys.

Sleep deprivation

Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to many health problems, including kidney disease.

The body works while sleeping to repair kidney tissue that may be damaged, so depriving the body of sleep makes it harder to heal.

Health

5 conditions that make your legs swell

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5 conditions that make your legs swell

Leg swelling, also known as edema, is a common condition that can affect absolutely anyone.

While occasional swelling may be harmless, persistent or sudden swelling could indicate underlying health issues.

If you are experiencing leg swelling, here are five conditions that might have caused it.

One common reason for swollen legs is lack of physical activity. If you have been sitting or standing for a long time without movement, this can contribute to poor circulation and fluid retention, leading to leg swelling.

Aside from being in one position for a long time, fluid retention can also be caused by conditions such as kidney disease, heart failure, and liver disease which all impact the legs leading to swelling.

Venous insufficiency refers to the inability of veins to adequately circulate blood back to the heart. When veins struggle to perform this function, blood may pool in the legs, resulting in swelling.

Varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis are examples of conditions associated with venous insufficiency.

The lymphatic system plays an important role in maintaining fluid balance in the body. Any disruption in the lymphatic system, whether due to infection, surgery, or trauma, can lead to swelling in the legs.

Lymphedema is a specific condition where the lymphatic system is compromised.

Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis can also contribute to leg swelling. In addition, localised infections, such as cellulitis, can cause inflammation, leading to swelling in the affected area.

It is quite common to see pregnant women with swollen legs especially in the later stages of pregnancy. This is commonly attributed to increased pressure on blood vessels and the growing uterus affecting blood flow.

In conclusion, leg swelling is a symptom that should not be ignored, as it may indicate underlying health issues. Identifying the root cause is crucial for proper diagnosis and management. Individuals experiencing persistent or severe leg swelling should seek medical attention to determine the appropriate course of action for their specific condition.

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‘Regular screening, avoid smoking’ — Cardiac Society shares tips to avoid sudden death

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‘Regular screening, avoid smoking’ — Cardiac Society shares tips to avoid sudden death

The Nigerian Cardiac Society has urged Nigerians to pay urgent attention to their cardiovascular health.

About four Nigerians, including Cairo Ojuogboh, a former house of representatives member, lost their lives while watching the football match between Nigeria and the Bafana Bafana of South Africa on Wednesday.

Reacting in a statement by Augustine Odili, NCS president, the society commiserated with the families of the deceased.

“The Nigerian Cardiac Society notes with utmost concern the several reported cases of sudden deaths among Nigerians both at home and abroad directly or indirectly linked with the surge of emotions associated with the Nigeria-South Africa Match during the ongoing African Cup of Nations competition holding in Cote D’Ivoire,” the society said.

Others are aortic aneurysms, status epilepticus, inherited arrhythmogenic channelopathies.

“The risk factors for heart disease are many. The most common, and by far, the important ones are related to lifestyle such as lack of physical exercise, smoking tobacco, consuming alcohol, eating unhealthy diets rich in salt and saturated fats and low in fresh fruits and vegetables,” the society said.

“Other risk factors include high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood lipids/cholesterol (dyslipidaemia), overweight and obesity, and diabetes mellitus.

“Hypertension is the most common risk factor for heart disease and stroke in Nigeria. Sadly, three out of every ten adult Nigerians have high blood pressure, many of whom are unaware of their hypertensive status.

“Effective blood pressure control is a major panacea for reducing the cardiovascular risk of affected people.

“Several reports have documented a very high prevalence of many cardiovascular risk factors including obesity, metabolic syndrome, smoking including passive smoking) drug abuse, alcohol intake, and physical inactivity among Nigerians.”

The society emphasised that many of these cardiovascular risk factors are without symptoms and signs.

“Therefore, screening is the only effective mechanism for early identification and appropriate control and prevention of sudden death among the populace,” the society said.

“The untimely deaths of these Nigerians are a stark reminder that we must be vigilant about our cardiovascular health.

“Sports and other emotional events can trigger arrhythmias, heart attacks, and strokes in those with underlying heart conditions.”

STEPS TO TAKE TO ENSURE CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

The society urged Nigerians to learn the warning signs of cardiac distress and how to respond in an emergency.

“Know your family history and risk factors and get regular screenings. Take steps to manage conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Avoid smoking, eat healthy, exercise, and manage stress,” the society said.

“For those with heart disease, take medications as prescribed and follow your doctor’s advice. Avoid getting overly excited during games and take breaks as needed.

“Warning symptoms preceding a sudden death may include Chest pain, breathlessness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fainting attacks. It should be noted that left-sided chest pain should not be taken with levity and should warrant a medical examination.”

The society also called on the federal government to increase the funding for health to encourage early and regular screening for cardiovascular risk factors.

The society also noted the need to institutionalise effective cardiovascular care among Nigerians by providing adequate facilities for the hospitals, encouraging adequate remuneration for health workers and promoting effective lifestyle modification.

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Health

Five reasons home fragrances are good for your health

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Imagine you walk into a home that is well decorated, nothing too glamorous; tiled floor; everything is neat and well put. There is art on the wall, a nice couch that blends in perfectly and nothing is out of place. Now picture walking into the same home with the fresh cool mint air of peppermint fragrance enveloping the home. Heaven right?

Having guests walk into your home, office, or place of business saying “this place smells nice” is one of the best compliments anyone can get. Unlike the decor of a home that is immediately visible to guests, how a home smells is subtle and most times overlooked but when a space smells great, it shows that the owner has class and pays attention to details.

Beyond this obvious benefit, smells have been known to stimulate different kinds of emotions in people. Certain smells are mood lifters, others take you down memory lane; invoking a feeling of nostalgia or comfort, while others fill you with a rush of excitement. This link between smell and emotions is not strange according to Harvard University’s Venkatesh Murthy who says smell and memory are so closely linked because of the brain’s anatomy.

What most people do not know however is that fragrances help improve health and wellbeing. Some studies have found that changing the ambient smell of a space can help reduce the physiological signs of stress. For instance, the smell of citrus (or apple) has been known to reduce anticipatory stress in patients waiting for dental surgery.

In homes, there are many health benefits fragrances provide and some of the key ones have been highlighted here.

Serve as a natural defence against germs: Some fragrances help protect the body against germs. A good example of such a fragrance is tea tree oil which has been proven to be effective against infectious agents. The tea tree oil when diffused in a home is effective against viruses, bacteria, and fungi, therefore, making the homeless prone to germs.

Improve the wellbeing of the skin: the skin is the largest cell organ in the body and is always in contact with the environment. The wellbeing of a person’s skin is determined to a large extent by their environment. Certain home fragrances contain rose essential oil; an oil with a sensual and aromatic scent. Rose essential oil is used in cosmetics to treat dry skin and redness. It also improves the skin glow of people living in homes where such fragrance is used.

Relieves stress and lowers blood pressure: Lavender with its calming and soothing fragrance is the perfect mood booster. Studies have shown that the smell of lavender can lower blood pressure. Experts have also found that a drop of lavender essential oil massaged on a person’s scalp can help to relieve headaches.

Aid for digestive problems: The peppermint home fragrance is fresh and sharp. It has both a warming and cooling feeling that is comparable to menthol and helps to quell nausea, indigestion, and bloating. The peppermint essential oil when used in a steam diffuser is effective in reducing nasal congestion.

Helps to improve sleep: many home fragrances have a soothing effect that makes them naturally sleep-inducing. The effect of good sleep can not be overstated, as it can improve a person’s general health. A nice, sleep-inducing fragrance in the bedroom is a better and healthier way to cure sleeplessness for people suffering from insomnia as such fragrances do not have the long-term adverse effects associated with using anti-insomnia drugs.

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