Our kidneys, nestled beneath the rib cage, are crucial for more than just waste elimination. The kidneys filter around 110 to 140 liters of blood each day to produce about 1 to 2 liters of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid, which contributes to homeostasis by regulating water, salts, and acids. Beyond this, kidneys aid in red blood cell production, blood pressure regulation, and bone health. They're not just waste managers; they're essential for various bodily functions.
This is why drinking enough water is important. Well-hydrated individuals typically have a lower concentration of waste in their urine, which means their kidneys don’t have to work as hard to filter out waste.
Chronic dehydration can lead to hyperfiltration, where the kidneys work overtime, potentially causing long-term damage and increasing the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Hydration and kidney health
When you’re dehydrated, your kidneys work harder than they should, which can lead to an increased risk of kidney stones, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and, over time, may contribute to chronic kidney disease (CKD).
The formation of kidney stones is one of the most direct consequences of inadequate hydration. Dehydration leads to a higher concentration of minerals in the urine, which can crystallize and form stones. Drinking sufficient water helps dilute these minerals, significantly reducing the risk of stone formation.
While these stones can get expelled with using (albeit painfully), they might, in extreme but not too uncommon cases, get stuck down the urinary tract and require surgical intervention, the pain of which we’re leaving to your imagination.
Acute kidney injuries
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), also known as acute renal failure, is a rapid-onset medical condition characterized by the sudden failure of the kidneys to effectively filter waste products from the blood. This condition evolves over a few hours or days, leading to an accumulation of toxins and a disruption in the body's fluid balance.
Among medical conditions not related to hydration, AKI can also be caused by a reduction in blood flow to the kidneys due to dehydration or by obstructions in the urinary tract as caused by kidney stones.
While some patients recover completely with appropriate and prompt treatment, others may progress to chronic kidney disease or sustain permanent kidney damage, especially in cases where the treatment is delayed or the injury is severe.
Chronic kidney disease
Chronic Kidney Disease refers to the gradual loss of kidney function over time. Unlike acute kidney injury, which develops rapidly, CKD usually progresses over a period of months or years. It's a condition where the kidneys are no longer able to efficiently filter waste and excess fluids from the blood, which can lead to a buildup of waste products in the body.
The most common causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases, but you shouldn’t disregard proper hydration as a preventive measure despite you not having either of these conditions.
How much water should you be drinking anyway?
Individual hydration needs vary based on age, climate, activity level, and health conditions. The general guideline you probably heard of is to drink 8 glasses of water a day, however this may not suit everyone.
A personalized approach involves drinking between 15 to 30 milliliters of water for each kilogram you weigh, each day. For instance, if you weigh 68 kilograms that would be approximately 1 to 2 liters of water a day. For physical activity or hot climates, the American Council on Exercise suggests adding an extra 355 milliliters of water for every 30 minutes of exercise to your daily intake.
Certain health conditions or special circumstances like pregnancy or breastfeeding may require increased fluid intake. The specific amounts can vary and should ideally be determined in consultation with a healthcare professional.
Things to keep in mind
About 20% of your daily fluid intake usually comes from food. If your diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, which contain a lot of water, you may not need as much drinking water.
You should also pay attention to thirst as an indicator of the need for fluids. Urine color is also a good gauge of hydration – pale yellow urine typically indicates good hydration, while dark yellow or amber-colored urine suggests dehydration.
People with kidney failure or those undergoing dialysis often need restricted water intake. Excessive water consumption, particularly in athletes, can lead to hyponatremia, where sodium levels in the blood become dangerously low.
Maintaining a habit of drinking enough water is essential for kidney health. By understanding your personal hydration needs, you can support kidney function, prevent kidney stones, and reduce the risk of urinary tract infections as well as potentially keeping chronic kidney disease at bay.
For the water you drink, the Sküma® System goes an extra step by allowing you to tailor it to your liking. Our device uses a reverse osmosis filtration system to eliminate all pollutants and microorganisms from your tap water. The purified water is then remineralized with an Infusion™ of your choice, making it the healthiest water you can drink.