Care for Your Kidneys in Hot Weather

When the thermometer rises outside, there is a spike in people visiting the ER with kidney problems. Many develop permanent kidney damage that could require dialysis.

It’s not summer yet, but the days are heating up, and we think it’s essential to revisit the important topic of kidney health. Summer dehydration can cause heat stress neuropathy and permanently harm the kidneys. Being hot for extended periods can cause problems. And phosphorus found in soda — even diet soda — takes a toll on the kidneys.

Despite the heat, exercise is a key component of keeping kidneys healthy. So, exercise early in the day when it’s cool or inside in a temperature-controlled environment. In the summer, many people attend more get-togethers. Be aware of what you put on your plate. Too much salt, fat, sugar and high protein levels can put pressure on the kidneys. And be sure to take all of your medications correctly.

Excess sweating can reduce blood flow to the kidneys. That can cause acute kidney injury. If it happens repeatedly, it can lead to chronic kidney disease. And, kidney stones can be caused by being overheated. When hot and dehydrated, calcium and uric acid can form into stones. UTIs are also more common in warm weather as you don’t urinate as frequently if you sweat a lot. And heat stroke can harm kidneys. These problems underscore the importance of staying cool and drinking plenty of water on hot days.

On warm days, it’s best to go easy on caffeine and alcohol. Pair any coffee or alcoholic drink with a glass of water. A spray bottle of water can help you feel cool outside. You should speak to your doctors if you take over-the-counter medications in the NSAID family, including Advil, Motrin or Aleve, as they can be harmful to kidneys.

We love sunny days but want everyone to have a safe summer! If you notice any kidney problems this summer, call 911 and get immediate medical advice. If you, or someone else, are feeling warm and confused, not urinating and are breathing rapidly, you need to get cool. Fans, air conditioning, ice packs and cold compacts can all be used to help rapidly cool someone off. In extreme cases, an ice bath may help; it’s crucial to speak to 911 and get guidance.  

You can have a wonderful summer and even enjoy warm days outside if you pay attention to your body. Take care of yourself, and you can have fun in the sun!

Banner image: Norfolk Hygge via Pexels

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