How Long Can You Live With One Kidney?

Kidneys are among the key organs in our body. Working as filters, their primary function is to remove toxins from the blood. The toxins are then passed out through urine. Kidneys also perform other functions such as removing excess fluid from the body, maintaining electrolyte balance and secreting certain hormones. If our kidneys don’t work properly, it might lead to health issues such as tiredness, headache, high blood pressure, fluid retention, swollen ankles and face and lower back pain.

It’s good that most of us have two kidneys. However, there are people who are born with only single kidney. In other cases, some people have two kidneys, but only one of them is functional. Other reasons for having one kidney include factors like cancer and damage caused by accident. Sometimes, people also donate one of their kidneys to save the life of their loved one.

Such cases make us think how long can one live with one kidney? And will we be able to live a normal life with one kidney? Well, to answer such questions, here are some important things you need to know.

One kidney is sufficient – In most cases where there are no other complications, people with one kidney can live a normal life. A single kidney has the capacity to effectively perform the necessary bodily functions. It’s the general perception that a single kidney will be overloaded. However, that is not the case. A single kidney is capable of doing the job of two kidneys. That’s exactly why nature has provided us with two kidneys.

Transplant cases – Things become a bit more complicated in people who have received a single kidney through transplant. However, if the patient is healthy and does not have other health problems, a single kidney will suffice. Research studies have shown that a transplanted kidney can become larger and improve its functioning.

Diet – There is a general misconception that people with one kidney have to be very careful about what they eat. However, this is not true. People with one kidney can eat a normal diet, just like anyone else. However, standard guidelines such as avoiding junk food, deep fried foods, etc., are applicable to everyone including people with one kidney.

Exercise – People with one kidney can engage in physical exercise. However, it is necessary to reduce the risk of injury to the single kidney. This is why people with one kidney should avoid contact sports such as football, boxing, martial arts, hockey, wrestling, rugby, etc. Adventure sports such as rock climbing, motorsports, skydiving, etc., also need to be avoided.

Alcohol and cigarette – It is generally recommended that people with one kidney should avoid things like alcohol and cigarette. These will make the single kidney work harder, which can increase the rate of kidney damage.

As is evident from above, you can live a normal life even with one kidney. Old age can bring more challenges for people with one kidney, but things like that are unavoidable. If you eat right, exercise regularly and sleep well, one kidney should not give you any major issues. Make sure you undertake health tests every year, so that potential health problems can be identified at early stage.

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