What Could Go Wrong With The Kidneys
When the kidneys are not working correctly, waste products and excess fluid can build up and the levels of sodium, potassium, phosphate and calcium are not regulated correctly. When these substances gather together, this causes the symptoms of kidney disease, which can include high blood pressure, excessive tiredness, fluid retention and possibly lower back pain.
Kidney damage can occur for a number of reasons diabetes, high blood pressure, infections and a group of diseases that affect the glomerulus. The kidneys also need an adequate supply of blood, so if there is something wrong with the blood vessels to the kidney, such as a narrowing, this will prevent the kidneys from working efficiently.
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.
How Do My Kidneys Filter Blood
Each kidney contains more than a million filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron consists of:
- Glomeruli: Glomeruli are groups of tiny blood vessels that perform the first stage of filtering your blood. They then pass filtered substances to the renal tubules. The name for this process is glomerular filtration.
- Renal tubules: These tiny tubes reabsorb and return water, nutrients and minerals your body needs . The tubules remove waste, including excess acid and fluids through a process called diffusion. Your body sends the remaining waste through your kidneys collecting chambers. Eventually, it leaves your body as pee.
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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.
How Much Do My Kidneys Weigh
The weight of your kidneys varies. Variances may include your height, weight, age, body mass index and location.
For men and people assigned male at birth, your right kidney may range from 1/5 to about 1/2 lbs. . Your left kidney may range from a little less than 1/5 to a little more than 1/2 lbs. . Your kidneys may weigh between the weight of one tennis ball and four tennis balls.
For women and people assigned female at birth, your right kidney may range from a little more than 1/10 to 3/5 lbs. . Your left kidney may range from 3/20 to a little less than 3/5 lbs. . Your kidneys may weigh between the weight of one tennis ball or five tennis balls.
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Symptoms Of Kidney Disease
Each person may have different symptoms of kidney disease. Here are the most common:
- Frequent headaches
- Itchiness all over the body
- Blood in the urine
- Relieve swelling
- Protect your bones
Your kidney doctor also may recommend a lower protein diet to minimize waste products in your blood. Regular follow-up kidney tests may be necessary to see if your disease remains stable or is progressing.
I think I can confidently say that we all want to live a healthy life without having to worry about our kidneys failing, Dr. Young says. I believe the most important part of my job is to try to prevent further damage to the kidneys and try to help people live as long as possible, as naturally as possible.
Steven Baldridge, RN, is a staff educator at University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center.
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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Measuring How Your Kidneys Work
It is difficult to calculate the exact rate at which your kidneys work. The best measure of kidney function is called the glomerular filtration rate . The GFR can be estimated using a mathematical formula. This formula uses the level of creatinine in your blood to estimate how well your kidneys are filtering waste from your blood. It can indicate if there is any kidney damage.
The higher the filtration rate, the better the kidneys are working. A GFR of 100 mL/min/1.73 m2 is in the normal range. This is about equal to 100 per cent kidney function. Based on this measurement system, a GFR of 50 mL/min/1.73 m2 could be called 50 per cent kidney function and a GFR of 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 could be called 30 per cent kidney function.
If your doctor orders a blood test to learn more about your kidney function, an eGFR result is provided automatically, along with your creatinine results.
Your doctor may also test for other signs and conditions that may indicate you have chronic kidney disease. These may include tests for:
- protein in your urine
- blood in your urine
- high blood pressure
How Do Kidneys Work:
As blood flows through the body it picks up waste and carries this to the kidneys using the kidney arteries. The waste in your blood comes from the normal breakdown of active tissues and from the food you eat. Your body uses food for energy and selfrepair. After the body has taken what it needs, from the food, the waste is sent to the blood. The kidneys filter out the waste products and excess fluids from the body and dispose of them in the form of urine, via the bladder. The clean blood flows back to the other parts of the body. If your kidneys did not remove this waste, it would build up in the blood and cause damage to your body.
The actual filtering occurs in tiny units inside your kidneys called nephrons. Each kidney contains about a million nephrons. In the nephron, a glomerulus intertwines with a urine collecting tube called tubules. A complicated chemical exchange takes place, as waste materials and water in your blood enter your urinary system.
In addition to removing waste, the kidneys have other important functions. These are carried outwith the help of three hormones, which are released in the kidneys.
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What The Kidneys Do
Your kidneys are silent workhorses, toiling 24/7 to clean your blood of impurities and toxins that build up from the body’s metabolism. This waste fluid, which we know better as urine, is then excreted. However, the kidneys role extends to well beyond just making urine. They are your bodys very own laboratories that test your blood continuously to make sure every electrolytes concentration is within the specific range that is necessary for your body to function.
As an example, lets consider an electrolyte in your blood, like potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte whose concentration needs to be within a tight range for your heart to generate its normal electric impulses. These impulses cause the heart to beat at a set rhythm or pulse. Both high or low potassium can interfere with this electricity generation and cause your heart to go into an abnormal rhythm. This abnormal rhythm, called arrhythmia, is life-threatening and could cause a person to drop dead in a matter of seconds. However, this does not happen in normal circumstances, because the moment the kidneys detect a rise in the bloods potassium concentration, they dump the extra potassium into urine, thus keeping the potassium level constant in the blood. If it weren’t for your kidneys, a typical meal that you eat could turn out to be a life-endangering experience owing to its potassium content.
Here are some other functions the kidneys serve:
How Is Kidney Pain Treated
The treatment for kidney pain depends on what is causing it. Be sure to call your doctor if you have any kidney pain. Your doctor may do:
- A urine test to check for signs of infection
- Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, to see if your kidneys are injured
Once you know what is causing your pain, your doctor can work with you to find the right treatment.
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Where Are The Kidneys
Most people have two kidneys, which sit deep in the abdomen in the small of the back, either side of the spine.
Shaped like a bean, each kidney weighs anywhere between 40 grams to 190 grams depending on gender and can very between left and right kidney. A kidney is about 10-15cms long.
Many people are able to lead healthy and active lives with just one functioning kidney. Some may have been born with one kidney, others may have had a kidney removed due to illness or injury and some people may have donated one of their kidneys to someone with kidney failure .
Monitor Weight And Eat A Healthy Diet
People who are overweight or obese are at risk for a number of health conditions that can damage the kidneys. These include diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.
A healthy diet thats low in sodium, processed meats, and other kidney-damaging foods may help reduce the risk of kidney damage. Focus on eating fresh ingredients that are naturally low-sodium, such as cauliflower, blueberries, fish, whole grains, and more.
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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.
Where Are The Kidneys And Urinary Tract Situated
The two kidneys lie to the sides of the upper tummy , behind the intestines and either side of the spine. Each kidney is about the size of a large orange but bean-shaped. The ureters descend through the abdomen, one from each kidney, into the pelvis. Here they enter the bladder. The urethra is the tube leading from the floor of the bladder to the outside. A woman’s urethra is much shorter than a man’s. This may be why women are more likely to have urinary tract infections, as germs have less far to travel to cause an infection. In a man the urethra passes through the prostate gland and then through the penis. It also has several other glands associated with it. See separate leaflet called The Male Reproductive System for more details.
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What Else Do Kidneys Do
Kidneys are always busy. Besides filtering the blood and balancing fluids every second during the day, the kidneys constantly react to hormones that the brain sends them. Kidneys even make some of their own hormones. For example, the kidneys produce a hormone that tells the body to make red blood cells.
Now you know what the kidneys do and how important they are. Maybe next Valentine’s Day, instead of the same old heart, you can give your parents a special card featuring the kidneys!
How Do The Kidneys And Urinary Tract Work
A large blood vessel called the renal artery takes blood to each kidney. The renal artery divides into many tiny blood vessels throughout the kidney. In the outer part of the kidneys, tiny blood vessels cluster together to form structures called glomeruli.
Each glomerulus is like a filter. The structure of the glomerulus allows waste products and some water and salt to pass from the blood into a tiny channel called a tubule, while keeping blood cells and protein in the bloodstream. Each glomerulus and tubule is called a ‘nephron’. There are about one million nephrons in each kidney.
As the waste products, water and salts pass along the tubule, there is a complex adjustment of the content. For example, some water and salts may be absorbed back into the bloodstream, depending on the current level of water and salt in your blood. Tiny blood vessels next to each tubule enable this ‘fine tuning’ of the transfer of water and salts between the tubules and the blood.
The liquid that remains at the end of each tubule is called urine. This drains into larger channels which drain into the inner prt of the kidney . From the renal pelvis, the urine passes down a tube called a ureter which goes from each kidney to the bladder. Urine is stored in the bladder until it is passed out through the urethra when we go to the toilet. The ‘cleaned’ blood from each kidney collects into a large blood vessel called the renal vein. This takes the blood back towards the heart.
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Kidneys Are Sensitive To Their Environment
Humans are a complex and integrated creation and the kidneys work with the rest of your organs to help you live a healthy life. Unfortunately, when one organ or system fails to work properly, others can begin to fail as a result.
Whether they begin the process of failure, or are responding to other organ failures, when the kidneys falter, many life-altering issues can result.
Like any intricate machine, the kidney is highly sensitive to its environment. Every time our heart beats, the kidneys get about 20 percent of the blood that is pumped. If the kidneys do not receive enough blood, they will start to deteriorate.
Many acute illnesses, which are illnesses or medical conditions with severe or sudden onset, can cause blood flow to fall. So its very common to have acute kidney injury whenever we get acutely ill.
Build Red Blood Cells
Healthy kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin, which can trigger bone marrow to make red blood cells that help deliver oxygen to the body.
Les reins, au nombre de deux, sont des organes de la taille du poing situés sous les côtes, de chaque côté de la colonne vertébrale. Les reins servent de filtre ou de passoire.
Lorsque le sang passe par le rein, celui-ci le débarrasse de ses déchets . Le rein produit également des hormones, régit dimportants minéraux pour la santé des os, contribue à stabiliser la tension artérielle et équilibre la teneur en sel et en eau de lorganisme.
Il arrive quune personne naisse avec un seul rein ou en perde un au cours de sa vie. Dans un tel cas, la fonction rénale globale reste tout de même normale. Un traitement nest nécessaire que si les deux reins sont touchés par une maladie rénale.
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What Do Your Kidneys Do
The kidneys are two bean shaped organs located on either side of your spine at the bottom of your ribcage. Most people are born with two kidneys. Kidneys are most popularly known as the organs that help us to dispose of waste by producing urine.
Each one of these complex filtering systems is made up of over a million tiny filters called nephrons, which clean your blood. These internal regulators filter and return over 180 litres of fluid every 24 hours. Without your kidneys waste would build up in your blood and damage your body.
How Kidneys Work
One fifth of the blood pumped by your heart goes to the kidneys, where it is processed and filtered. Excess water, salt, minerals and waste are sent to the bladder as urine and clean blood is returned to circulation. It takes just five minutes for all of your blood to be filtered by the kidney which means in 24 hours, your kidneys will filter all of your blood 288 times!
*Image courtesy of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,National Institutes of Health.
Kidneys are hard-working organs and its important for them to be kept in as good of shape as possible so you feel healthy and well. Whether you suspect you may have kidney disease, have already been diagnosed or feel perfectly fit, its crucial to take good care of those bean-shaped filterers so they can keep doing their job.
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