How Can I Keep My Kidneys Healthy
Its important to have regular checkups and blood and urine tests to measure your kidneys health. You can reduce your risk of developing a kidney problem by:
- Avoiding or quitting smoking and using tobacco products. Your provider can help you find ways to quit.
- Cutting out excess salt, which can affect the balance of minerals in your blood.
- Increasing daily exercise, which can reduce high blood pressure.
- Limiting your use of NSAIDs. NSAIDs can cause kidney damage if you take them too much.
- Watching your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
What Happens If My Kidneys Fail Completely
Complete and irreversible kidney failure is sometimes called end-stage renal disease, or ESRD. If your kidneys stop working completely, your body fills with extra water and waste products. This condition is called uremia. Your hands or feet may swell. You will feel tired and weak because your body needs clean blood to function properly.
Untreated uremia may lead to seizures or coma and will ultimately result in death. If your kidneys stop working completely, you will need to undergo dialysis or kidney transplant.
How Many Kidneys Are In The Human Body
The human body normally has two kidneys. These fist-sized organs are located in the back part of the abdomen, just below the rib cage, on either side of the spine. Their primary function is to filter the blood and remove waste from the body.
The kidneys also help maintain the proper fluid balance in the body. The kidneys filter all the blood in the body around 12 times an hour, removing excess fluid and waste and manufacturing urine. Occasionally, someone is born with just one kidney or loses a kidney due to disease or injury. The body functions well with just one kidney in these instances, but at least some kidney function is necessary for life.
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Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Find out if clinical trials are right for you.
What Causes Kidney Disease
Kidney diseases happen when your kidneys are damaged and cant filter your blood. The damage can happen quickly when its caused by injury or toxins or, more commonly, over months or years.
- Glomerulonephritis. This type of kidney disease involves damage to the glomeruli, which are the filtering units inside your kidneys.
- Polycystic kidney disease. This is a genetic disorder that causes many fluid-filled cysts to grow in your kidneys, reducing the ability of your kidneys to function.
- Hypertensive nephrosclerosis. Kidney damage caused by chronic, poorly controlled hypertension.
- Membranous nephropathy. This is a disorder where your bodys immune system attacks the waste-filtering membranes in your kidney.
- Obstructions of the urinary tract from kidney stones, an enlarged prostate or cancer.
- Vesicourethral reflux. This is a condition in which urine flows backward refluxes back up the ureters to the kidneys
- Nephrotic syndrome. This is a collection of symptoms that indicate kidney damage.
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Can You Drink Alcohol With Only One Kidney
Alcohol increases the amount of urine you produce but reduces your kidneys ability to filter blood. This disrupts the fluid and electrolyte balance in your body, and you become dehydrated.
Without enough fluid in your body, the cells in your organs, including your kidneys, cant function properly. Eventually it may cause permanent damage.
The risk of kidney damage is even higher for heavy drinkers who also smoke.
Alcohol has this effect whether you have one or two kidneys, but it may lead to kidney failure more quickly when you only have one functioning kidney.
How Do The Kidneys And Urinary Tract Work
Blood travels to each kidney through the renal artery. The artery enters the kidney at the hilus , the indentation in middle of the kidney that gives it its bean shape. The artery then branches so blood can get to the nephrons 1 million tiny filtering units in each kidney that remove the harmful substances from the blood.
Each of the nephrons contain a filter called the glomerulus . The fluid that is filtered out from the blood then travels down a tiny tube-like structure called a tubule . The tubule adjusts the level of salts, water, and wastes that will leave the body in the urine. Filtered blood leaves the kidney through the renal vein and flows back to the heart.
Pee leaves the kidneys and travels through the ureters to the bladder. The bladder expands as it fills. When the bladder is full, nerve endings in its wall send messages to the brain. When a person needs to pee, the bladder walls tighten and a ring-like muscle that guards the exit from the bladder to the urethra, called the sphincter , relaxes. This lets pee go into the urethra and out of the body.
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Where Are The Kidneys And How Do They Function
There are two kidneys, each about the size of a fist, located on either side of the spine at the lowest level of the rib cage. Each kidney contains up to a million functioning units called nephrons. A nephron consists of a filtering unit of tiny blood vessels called a glomerulus attached to a tubule. When blood enters the glomerulus, it is filtered and the remaining fluid then passes along the tubule. In the tubule, chemicals and water are either added to or removed from this filtered fluid according to the body’s needs, the final product being the urine we excrete.
The kidneys perform their life-sustaining job of filtering and returning to the bloodstream about 200 quarts of fluid every 24 hours. About two quarts are removed from the body in the form of urine, and about 198 quarts are recovered. The urine we excrete has been stored in the bladder for anywhere from 1 to 8 hours.
Can You Live Without Your Kidneys
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Medically Reviewed by Transplant Services
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs found just below the rib cage. Most people are born with two one on each side of the spine.
Your kidneys are two of the most vital organs in your body. They work to keep your blood stable, allowing your body to function properly.
Each day your kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood into urine. They prevent the buildup of waste and extra fluid, and produce hormones that help your body:
- Regulate blood pressure
- Build healthy and strong bones
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Can You Live Without A Kidney
You can live with just one kidney. Healthcare providers may remove one of your kidneys in a radical nephrectomy.
Someone may have only one kidney if they:
- Had a kidney removed due to cancer or injury.
- Made a kidney donation to someone else for a kidney transplant.
- Were born with only one kidney .
- Were born with two kidneys but only one kidney works .
Growing Up With One Kidney
It is true, you can live with only one kidney. Some people are born with only one because the other one did not grow properly. Other times, the two kidneys touch each other when they are first growing and join together, making one kidney shaped like a horseshoe. People with these types of kidneys have to be very careful because they might get sick more easily than someone who has two kidneys.
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What If I Was Born With Only One Working Kidney
In general, most people with a single, healthy kidney have few problems. However, some long term problems have been seen in some people.
In some people who were born with a single kidney, or had a kidney removed during childhood, there is a chance of some slight loss in kidney function later in life. This usually takes 25 years or more to happen. There may also be a chance of having high blood pressure later in life. However, the loss in kidney function is usually very mild, and life span is normal. Most people with one kidney live healthy, normal lives with few problems.
In other words, one healthy kidney can work as well as two.
Is It Kidney Pain Or Back Pain
Kidney pain and back pain are similar, and people often confuse them.
Back pain usually occurs in your lower back.
Kidney pain is deeper in your body and higher up your back. Youll likely feel pain in your sides or your middle- to upper-back area . The pain may progress to other areas, including your abdomen or groin.
Kidney pain results from swelling or blockage of your kidneys or urinary tract. Symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting or pain when you pee.
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Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy
Well-functioning kidneys are essential to your overall health. Early detection of kidney disease can be life-saving. Medication and changes to lifestyle, along with an early referral to a kidney specialist, can prevent or delay kidney failure.
If you are at increased risk of chronic kidney disease, talk to your doctor about having a regular kidney health check.
Needing An Extra Kidney
Sometimes our kidneys stop working. When this happens our blood cannot be cleaned and we can get very sick. The only way to stay alive is to be attached to a big machine that cleans your blood for you, or have a kidney transplant.
This happened to me when my kidneys stopped working properly. My dad gave me one of his kidneys. Thanks, Dad.
There are two people involved in a kidney transplant: a donor who is going to give their kidney, and a recipient who will receive the kidney.
After the new kidney is put into the recipient, both the donor and recipient only have one kidney that works properly. Both the donor and the recipient can live long happy lives with only one kidney. They just have to take extra care that they eat healthily and exercise to stay fit. One person living in Australia has been using a transplanted kidney for 45 years!
So, while your body works best when all of your organs are inside you and working properly, scientists still dont exactly know why we have two kidneys. However, it is good to know that we have a few spare parts that we can live without.
And if youre an adult reading this, its good to make sure you are registered as an organ donor and also chat to your family so they know you want to donate. You may one day save a life.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Solitary Kidney
In general, people born with kidney agenesis or kidney dysplasia show no symptoms, lead full healthy lives, and may never discover they have a solitary kidney. Some people discover they have a solitary kidney by chance after having an x-ray, an ultrasound, or surgery for an unrelated condition or injury. A minority of people develop progressive loss of kidney function, and they can develop symptoms associated with chronic kidney disease.
A small percentage of babies born with kidney agenesis have other birth defects, such as an absent , an absent or smaller-than-normal bladder, an absent or smaller-than-normal uterus, a smaller-than-normal lung, club feet, or a hole in the heart wall separating the two lower heart chambers.5
The Tubule Returns Needed Substances To Your Blood And Removes Wastes
A blood vessel runs alongside the tubule. As the filtered fluid moves along the tubule, the blood vessel reabsorbs almost all of the water, along with minerals and nutrients your body needs. The tubule helps remove excess acid from the blood. The remaining fluid and wastes in the tubule become urine.
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Is Drinking A Lot Of Water Good For My Kidneys
Drinking an appropriate amount of water is good for your kidneys. Water helps your kidneys get rid of toxins and wastes through your pee. It also helps keep your blood vessels healthy, making it easier for blood to deliver necessary nutrients to your kidneys.
Its also a good idea to drink an appropriate amount of water to help prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections . Kidney stones are less likely to form when you have enough water in your kidneys. Youre less likely to get a UTI when you drink a lot of water because youll pee more. Peeing helps flush out the bacteria that cause UTIs.
In general, the color of your pee can reveal if youre drinking enough water. Your pee should be light yellow or clear if youre drinking enough water. If youre dehydrated, your pee will be dark yellow.
How much water should I drink to keep my kidneys healthy?
On average, men and people assigned male at birth should drink about 13 cups of water each day. On average, women and people assigned female at birth should drink about 9 cups of water each day.
Is it possible to drink too much water?
Yes, its possible to drink too much water. Drinking too much water may cause water intoxication or hyponatremia . These conditions may cause seizures, coma, mental status changes and death without treatment.
How Long Do You Have To Live If Your Kidneys Are Failing
While theres no way to undo kidney failure, its possible to live for quite a while with treatment in the form of dialysis or kidney transplant.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, the average life expectancy for people on dialysis is 5 to 10 years. But there are patients who have continued dialysis for as long as 30 years.
Without treatment, your life expectancy with ESRD may be several weeks.
Many factors can affect life expectancy if you have kidney failure. But there are steps you can take to help improve quality of life, such as:
- following your treatment plan
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Why Are The Kidneys Important
Your kidneys remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. Your kidneys also remove acid that is produced by the cells of your body and maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and mineralssuch as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassiumin your blood.
Without this balance, nerves, muscles, and other tissues in your body may not work normally.
Your kidneys also make hormones that help
What Are The Kidneys
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that filter your blood. Your kidneys are part of your urinary system.
Your kidneys filter about 200 quarts of fluid every day enough to fill a large bathtub. During this process, your kidneys remove waste, which leaves your body as urine . Most people pee about two quarts daily. Your body re-uses the other 198 quarts of fluid.
Your kidneys also help balance your bodys fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes are essential minerals that include sodium and potassium.
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It Can Sometimes Do The Work Of Two
Tests have shown that some people who have had one kidney removed can have increased function in their remaining kidney. These increased function levels can equate to around 70 per cent of that normally achieved by two kidneys.
If someone is born with a single kidney, their overall kidney function is often normal.
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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