Is Drinking Hard Water Bad for Your Kidneys? July 31, 2020 00:00

Is Drinking Hard Water Bad for Your Kidneys?

kidney stones hard water

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that contains a high mineral content that collects deep beneath the ground. The water is formed when water droplets run through mineral deposits such as limestone and chalk, producing a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. In opposite, soft water is surface water with lower concentrations of such ions, such as rainfall. This distinction is important to understand because your home's tap water is most likely pumped from underground as well. In that case - is all the water we have at home hard?

According to the Water Quality Association, water becomes classified as sightly hard when the concentration of grains per gallon reaches 1.0 - 3.5 and is hard when the grains per gallon becomes 7.0 - 10.5. All regions have different ways of collecting and distributing water so make sure you find out what is the water hardness level is your city first.

Does hard water cause kidney problems?

Kidneys act as a filter in the human body. The main function of a kidney is to discard waste elements and excess fluid from the body.

Kidney stones are small “pebbles” of salt and mineral in the urine. The most common symptom is severe pain. Most stones pass on their own, but medical procedures are used to remove some kidney stones. Most kidney stones are calcium-type. They form when the calcium levels in your urine change. In the excretion process, calcium particles or crystals are accumulated on kidney walls as they are hard to dissolve. Over the years because of this deposit, the size of the stone increases and starts giving problems in the renal system. It is a known fact that drinking plentiful water every day is important to prevent dehydration. If your body is dehydrated, it will result in kidney stones. Other factors include genetic predisposition, eating habits, climatic and social conditions, gender, etc.

The number one reason is not drinking enough water and other beverages

First of all, to avoid kidney stones the best thing you can do is to drink plenty of water (hard or soft). Drinking extra water dilutes the substances in urine that lead to stones. It may help to include some citrus beverages, like lemonade and orange juice. The citrate in these beverages helps block stone formation.

Secondly, most of the large long term studies show no or very little relationship between hard water and kidney stones. For the general population there simply is no increased risk. There are however people with poor health with an increased risk which is why doctors may give a warning.

Hard water does not cause kidney stones, but it may increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Research shows that if you drink hard water after the treatment of kidney stones, they increase the chances of developing the complication.

Is Limescale Bad to Drink?

 Specifically, in the case of limescale, this usally means calcium and magnesium which when combined form limescale in tea kettles, coffee machines, glasses, around the faucets, and other places.

Typical recommended dietary intakes are about 1000 mg of calcium per day and 200– 400 mg of magnesium per day. For calcium and magnesium, the typical contribution from water is 5–20% . Because of dietary habits in most countries, many people fail to obtain the recommended intakes of one or both of these nutrients from their diets, and therefore their supply from drinking water is important.

Hard water is not a health hazard. In fact, the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) states that hard drinking water generally contributes a small amount toward total calcium and magnesium human dietary needs. They further state that in some instances, where dissolved calcium and magnesium are very high, water could be a major contributor to calcium and magnesium to the diet.

Can drinking hard water cause health problems?

The research shows that it is not the quality of water, rather the quantity of water consumed that matters most in the occurrence of KSD.

However, there is some evidence however that very hard water (mineral-rich water) with TDS above 400 ppm could increase the risk of kidney stones. In most cases of kidney stones, the blood in a human body, due to certain inherent problems, starts absorbing more calcium from water and food than actually needed. As a result, excess calcium is deposited on the walls of the kidney in the excretion process.

In general, Water containing valuable minerals such as magnesium and calcium taken in sufficient quantities actually prevent the formation of kidney stones and promote good health and healthy bones. Research has effectively proved that water devoid of these natural substances makes the bones weak and is detrimental to health in the long run.

If you are worried about kidney stones, the best preventative measure is to make sure you drink enough water. About 60-70% of your body weight is made up of water, and every part of your body needs it to function properly. Water helps the kidneys remove wastes from your blood in the form of urine. Water also helps keep your blood vessels open so that blood can travel freely to your kidneys, and deliver essential nutrients to them. But if you become dehydrated, then it is more difficult for this delivery system to work. Mild dehydration can make you feel tired and can impair normal bodily functions. Severe dehydration can lead to kidney damage, so it is important to drink enough when you work or exercise very hard and especially in warm and humid weather.

Why do we want to soften hard water then?

If hard water contains essential minerals, unlike soft water, that makes drinking water preferable. Why then do we remove these minerals by softening water?

The major disadvantage of hard water is noticed while doing household chores. Hard water used for chores has many undesirable effects. For exaple, it leaves washed clothes and dishes with dirty marks, surfaces with residue, and can even leave hair feeling oily. In addition, the minerals in the water cause build-up in your drain pipes which may go unnoticed until problems start to occur. Plumbers may have to be called in to remove the mineral deposits to prevent the pipes from becoming seriously damaged. By installing a water softening system, this problem can be averted and will help to cancel out these negative aspects to hard water.

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