October has been mostly pleasant so far with rainy weather bringing a pinch in the air, but generally during this month, which is considered the post-monsoon period, high temperatures and humidity are common. The October heat is known to affect our bodies negatively. According to experts, kidney ailments are common in October, as the hot weather can cause dehydration and negatively affect the kidneys. People taking blood pressure or heart medication should be extra careful, as hot and humid conditions can impact their kidney health. (Also read: Kidney failure: main reasons why it happens; warning symptoms)
“In hot weather, kidney conditions such as formation of kidney stones, urinary tract infections, exacerbation of existing kidney conditions. Hot weather can cause dehydration and lead to pooled urine, which increases the risk of formation of stones.Due to the higher concentration of urine, the risk of bacterial infections in the urine increases.Hot weather can aggravate excessive sweating and increase dehydration, which can lead to low blood pressure and damage the kidneys. Risk of acute kidney injury in people taking blood pressure medications, heart medications, and patients who have undergone heart failure is very high,” says Dr. Shruti Tapiawala, Consultant Nephrologist and Transplant Physician. Renal at Global Hospital, Parel Mumbai.
In extremely hot temperatures, heat-related illnesses can also occur. Dehydration leads to low blood volume and therefore low blood pressure, which decreases blood flow to the kidneys and decreases kidney function. In the presence of heat illness, many metabolic functions begin to shut down and affect kidney function. The muscles begin to break down and the breakdown products can damage the kidneys.
Dr. Tapiwala offers tips for preventing kidney ailments in October:
1. Maintain adequate hydration with a variety of fluids like natural beverages – coconut water, buttermilk, water, green tea, etc.
2. A good meter to check hydration is to look at the color of the urine. If the color is that of water, it suggests adequate hydration.
3. Avoid using painkillers which can damage the kidneys – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, diclofenac, nimesulide and Cox 2 inhibitors like coxibs. These can cause severe kidney damage if dehydrated.
4. If you are a patient on multiple medications, consult your physician regarding medication adjustment.