Summertime has many of us thinking about vacations, beaches and barbecues. But doctors warn your kidney health should also be on your mind as temperatures soar.
Hot weather is directly linked to kidney problems - especially painful kidney stones.
"People can get out working in the yard and they can become dehydrated and they're not producing enough urine and then that creates crystals forming in the kidney," said Lake Area Family Medicine physician Dr. Tolvert Fowler.
The heat increases kidney failure and other kidney problems, especially in diabetics and those with high blood pressure.
"It's very important that you get that under control, that way you can protect your kidneys," said Fowler.
Rapid water loss causes the kidney's functions to slow down. That results in temporary or permanent kidney failure. But before that happens, your body will send you signs.
"The signs or symptoms of having kidney problems would be puffiness in the eyes or swelling in the hands or feet," said Fowler.
Healthy kidneys clean your blood and filter out waste and extra fluid. Whatever your body does not need is eliminated in urine.
"It's filtered by small units in the kidney called the 'nephrons' and if your kidney is not functioning properly," said Fowler, "these toxins can accumulate in your body and make you very sick."
The best recipe for healthy kidneys is to drink plenty of water, at least six glasses a day. Eat a balanced diet of lean meats, poultry, fish - and fresh fruits and veggies.
Finally, do not smoke. Cigarette smoking slows the blood flow to your kidneys and can increase your risk for kidney cancer by 40 percent.
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, it is extremely important to follow your doctor's advice and take your medication. It may help reduce your risk of kidney complications, including kidney failure.