The Role Of Kidneys In The Human Body
Although many people dont think about their kidneys, they are some of the hardest-working organs in the body. The kidneys are responsible for filtering more than 120 quarts of blood every single day. The waste products that are filtered out are quickly eliminated by the body in the form of urine, composed of excess salts, fats, toxins and liquid. The ureter is connected to the kidney , and flows down into the bladder, where urine is stored and then eliminated from the body.
Aside from assuring that waste is properly disposed of, kidneys are also critical to the balance of electrolytes in our body. Minerals like sodium, potassium and calcium, among others, help to maintain water balance in the system, as well as optimize nervous system communication. Without the kidneys functioning, or present, the body would not be able to function. The composition of our blood must remain stable, if we are to remain healthy, and the kidneys guarantee that happens.
Furthermore, kidneys produce key hormones that the body requires, such as hormones for strengthening bones, creating new red blood cells and maintaining blood pressure. Clearly, while the kidneys are often overlooked behind major organs like the brain, heart and lungs, they are just as critical to our survival.
Chronic Kidney Disease: The Basics
You’ve been told that you have chronic kidney disease . What does that mean? And what does it mean for your health and your life? This booklet will help answer some of the questions you might have.
You have two kidneys, each about the size of your fist. Their main job is to filter wastes and excess water out of your blood to make urine. They also keep the body’s chemical balance, help control blood pressure, and make hormones.
CKD means that your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood like they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in your body. It can also cause other problems that can harm your health.
CKD is often a “progressive” disease, which means it can get worse over time. CKD may lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain health.
You can take steps to keep your kidneys healthier longer:
- Choose foods with less salt .
- Keep your blood pressure at the level set by your health care provider.
- Keep your blood glucose in the target range, if you have diabetes.
Why Do People Have A Single Kidney
There are three main reasons why a person may have only one kidney:
- A person may be born with only one kidney. This condition is called renal agenesis. Another condition, which is called kidney dysplasia, causes a person to be born with two kidneys, but only one of them works. Most people who are born without a kidney lead normal, healthy lives.
- A person may have had one kidney removed during an operation in order to treat an injury or a disease like cancer.
- A person may have donated one kidney to a person who needed a kidney transplant.
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What Happens When You Get Kidney Stones But Only Have One Kidney
About 8.8 percent of the population in the U.S. will experience the pain of a kidney stone, according to a 2012 study published in European Urology. That adds up to about half a million people every year, or 1 in 10, and those numbers are rising, the National Kidney Foundation says.
But what happens if you were born with only one kidney or lost one to disease or trauma? How does that affect your diagnosis and treatment if you get a kidney stone?
What Causes Kidney Failure
When the kidneys lose function suddenly , its called acute kidney failure . This type of kidney failure is often temporary. Common causes of acute kidney failure can include:
- Autoimmune kidney diseases
- A urinary tract obstruction
- Uncontrolled systemic disease like heart or liver disease
Kidney failure usually doesnt happen overnight. Chronic kidney disease refers to a group of health conditions that affect how well your kidneys function over time. If left untreated, chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure.
The biggest causes of kidney failure from chronic kidney disease are:
- Diabetes: Unmanaged diabetes can lead to uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Consistently high blood sugar can damage the bodys organs, including the kidneys.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure means blood travels through your bodys blood vessels with increased force. Over time, untreated high blood pressure levels can damage the kidneys tissue.
Other causes of chronic kidney disease include:
- Polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary condition where cysts grow inside your kidneys.
- Glomerular diseases, such as glomerulonephritis, which affect how well the kidneys can filter waste.
- Lupus and other autoimmune diseases that can affect multiple body systems.
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How Does Eating Diet And Nutrition Affect A Solitary Kidney
If you have a solitary kidney, you do not need to eat a special diet. However, you can keep your kidneys healthy by staying well hydrated, not taking too much salt, and not gaining excessive weight. If you have reduced kidney function, you may need to make changes to your diet to slow your kidney disease progression. Work with your health care professional or a registered dietitian to develop a meal plan that includes foods you enjoy eating while maintaining your kidney health.
Where Does The Information Come From
Researchers funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality , a Federal Government research agency, reviewed 28 studies on dietary changes and medicines to lower the chance of having recurrent kidney stones published between January 1948 and November 2011. Nearly all the adults in the research studies for this summary were young to middle-aged men with calcium stones. The report was reviewed by clinicians, researchers, experts, and the public. You can read the report at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/kidney-stones.cfm.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you start to notice signs like changes in your urine output, brain fog, or high blood pressure, see your healthcare provider.
If you have diabetes or heart disease and start to notice symptoms like the ones mentioned above or other signs that werent there before , also see your healthcare provider.
Both high blood pressure and high blood sugar can contribute to kidney disease and kidney failure. Seeing your healthcare provider early on, when you first notice symptoms, and starting treatment can make a difference in your prognosis .
What Is An Ectopic Kidney
An ectopic kidney is a kidney located below, above, or on the opposite side of the kidneys normal position in the urinary tract. The two kidneys are usually located near the middle of your back, just below your rib cage, on either side of your spine.
An ectopic kidney usually doesnt cause any symptoms or health problems, and many people never find out that they have the condition. If an ectopic kidney is discovered, it is usually found during a fetal ultrasoundan imaging test that uses sound waves to create a picture of how a baby is developing in the wombor during medical tests done to check for a urinary tract infection or to find the cause of abdominal pain. Rarely does a person have two ectopic kidneys.
In the womb, a fetuss kidneys first develop as small buds in the lower abdomen inside the pelvis. During the first 8 weeks of growth, the fetuss kidneys slowly move from the pelvis to their normal position in the back near the rib cage. When an ectopic kidney occurs during growth, the kidney
- stays in the pelvis near the bladder
- stops moving up too early and stays in the lower abdomen
- moves too high up in the abdomen
- crosses over the center of the body and often grows into, or joins, the other kidney, with both kidneys on the same side of the body
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Can Kidney Failure Be Prevented
While kidney failure from chronic kidney disease cant be reversed, you can do many things to help preserve the kidney function you have today. Healthy habits and routines may slow down how quickly kidneys lose their functional abilities.
If you have chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, youll want to:
- Monitor your kidney function, with your doctors help.
- Keep your blood sugar levels under control, if you have diabetes.
- Keep your blood pressure levels in a normal range.
- Avoid smoking.
- Make healthy diet choices, such as limiting foods high in protein and sodium.
The Right Kidney For The Right Patient
When a transplant center gets the 2-for-1 kidneys, we can choose the recipient who would get the most use out of it. determines who is next to receive a kidney transplant.)
Our surgeons aim to maximize this transplant opportunity by reducing the risks of complication and rejection as much as possible. This involves:
- Limiting the time donor organs sit on ice by having a recipient ready when the kidney pair arrives
- Planning for a smooth, simple operation
- Choosing a recipient whose body will most likely accept the kidneys
Find out if you’re a candidate for this kind of dual kidney transplant.
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What Do The Kidneys Do
The kidneys have several jobs. One of the most important is helping your body eliminate toxins. The kidneys filter your blood and send waste out of your body in urine.
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs about the size of your fist. They sit under your ribcage, toward your back. Most people have two working kidneys, but people can live well as long as at least one is working correctly.
When the kidneys dont work effectively, waste products build up in your body. If this happens, you might feel sick. In the most serious situations, kidney failure can be life-threatening. However, many people can manage kidney failure with the right treatment.
Kidney Stone Mystery Solved: Why Some People Are More Prone To Develop Kidney Stones
- Washington University in St. Louis
- New research provides evidence to explain why some people are more likely to develop kidney stones than others. Their discovery opens the door to finding effective drug treatments and a test that could assess a persons risk of the condition.
Kidney stones strike an estimated 1 million Americans each year, and those who have experienced the excruciating pain say it is among the worst known to man .
Now, new research by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis provides evidence to explain why some people are more prone to develop the condition than others. Their discovery opens the door to finding effective drug treatments and a test that could assess a person’s risk of kidney stones.
“Now, we finally have a more complete picture detailing why some people develop kidney stones and others do not,” says senior author Jianghui Hou, PhD, assistant professor of medicine. “With this information, we can begin to think about better treatments and ways to determine a person’s risk of the condition, which typically increases with age.”
The research, in mice, is now available online in the EMBO Journal, published by the European Molecular Biology Organization.
Most kidney stones form when the urine becomes too concentrated, allowing minerals like calcium to crystallize and stick together. Diet plays a role in the condition — not drinking enough water or eating too much salt also increases the risk of stones.
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What Are The Costs Of Medicines To Lower Your Chance Of Getting Another Calcium Stone
Thiazide diuretics, citrates, and allopurinol are all available in generic form and are usually not very expensive. The costs to you for these medicines depend on:
- Your health insurance
- Review Medicines for Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease: A Review of the Research for Adults With Kidney Disease and Diabetes or High Blood PressureJohn M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Science. Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers. 2005
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Will You Need Dialysis
Dialysis performs the function of your kidney by filtering your blood and removing waste and extra fluid. Its only done when youve temporarily or permanently lost most or all of your kidney function.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, dialysis should be started only if your kidneys have lost 85 to 90 percent of their function. Since you usually have nearly normal kidney function when you have one kidney, you wont need dialysis unless your kidney fails.
You should see your healthcare provider at least once a year to evaluate your single kidney. If a problem develops, you should be checked more often.
Two tests are used to evaluate your kidney function:
- The glomerular filtration rate indicates how well your kidneys are filtering blood. Its calculated using the creatinine level in your blood.
- The amount of protein in your urine is measured to determine if the filters in your kidney are damaged and leaky. High levels of protein in your urine is a sign of kidney dysfunction.
Your blood pressure also must be measured.
High blood pressure can be a sign of kidney dysfunction. It can also damage the blood vessels in your kidney, which can make kidney dysfunction worse.
Lifestyle changes and medication can lower your blood pressure and avoid further kidney damage.
200,000 people in the United States have a functioning transplanted kidney.
If your solitary kidney gets injured or sick and stops working, you might be eligible for a transplant.
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Are Home Remedies Effective For Kidney Stones
For some people who have had many kidney stones, home care may be appropriate. When passing a kidney stone, drinking lots of fluid is important. In fact, this is the most important home care measure. Medications may help control the pain . However, if it is the first time one has had symptoms suggestive of a kidney stone, it is important to see a doctor right away.
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Everything Else Which Comes In Pairs
These form from the mesoderm or ectoderm.
Even the brain and heart are paired organs, the heart starts as two organs and fused during embryonic development. The whole circulatory system starts perfectly paired, but then specific parts close off to create the complex circulatory system of “higher” animals so we can have a high pressure section and low pressure section.
The spine is also sort of singular but is basically the the line splitting the left from right half of the body. Everything that branches off the spine does so in pairs.
The real questions is why you have two lungs and one spleen. They are the only organs that breaks the rules. The lungs are an outgrowth of the digestive tract and the endoderm, but is paired. The spleen is part of the circulatory system, but singular. Now the most primitive lungs are singular, it split later likely as animals got larger and needed more lung capacity and also needed a tight connection with circulatory system . The spleen is the weird one, and likely harkens all the way back to before vertebrates existed, it predates the closed circulatory system, and develops on the midline of the body just like the spine and digestive organs. Just like how the spine is the midline dividing the nervous system into pairs the spleen divides the circulatory system into pairs.
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Errors From Changing Image Types
Imagine the first image for a patient is a flat plate showing 1 stone on the right. Several years later, a stone is passed from the right and a CT shows 2 stones on the right and 3 more on the left. What do we make of this? New stones or change of technique?
To me these are not new stones because a flat plate has poor sensitivity compared to a CT. But we cannot be sure, can we?
Imagine another patient with 3 stones in the right kidney seen on CT. After ureteroscopic removal of 3 stones, a flat plate shows no stones. One year later, a new CT shows 2 stones on the operated side. One presumes they are new, but the flat plate could be insensitive and the surgeon unable to see several stones during the surgery. Or, possibly, the stones are tissue calcifications not seen during surgery. With ultra low dose instruments, perhaps a majority of such images will be CTs.
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Protecting Your Single Kidney From Injury
If you have a single kidney, injuring it can be a big problem because there isnt another one to compensate. If the injury is severe and your kidney stops working completely, you would need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.
To avoid this, its very important to protect your single kidney from injury. Avoid contact sports that could lead to kidney injury. These include:
- bungee jumping
Over the long term, unless your kidney gets injured, loss of function in your single kidney is usually very mild and unnoticeable.
Most people with a single kidney dont need to follow a special diet, but like people with two kidneys, you should eat a healthy balanced diet.
Staying normally hydrated and drinking when thirsty is better than overhydration or dehydration.
If you have a single kidney because you had a transplant or if you have kidney disease, you may need to limit the amount of sodium, phosphorous, and protein in your diet. This is because your kidney cant remove them from your blood very well, so they build up.
You may also have to limit the amount of fluids you drink.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your nutritional needs and dietary restrictions.
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