What Do The Kidneys Do
When blood flows to the kidney, sensors within specialized kidney cells regulate how much water to excrete as urine, along with what concentration of electrolytes. For example, if a person is dehydrated from exercise or from an illness, the kidneys will hold onto as much water as possible and the urine becomes very concentrated. When adequate water is present in the body, the urine is much more dilute, and the urine becomes clear. This system is controlled by renin, a hormone produced in the kidney that is part of the fluid and blood pressure regulation systems of the body.
Kidneys are also the source of erythropoietin in the body, a hormone that stimulates the bone marrow to make red blood cells. Special cells in the kidney monitor the oxygen concentration in blood. If oxygen levels fall, erythropoietin levels rise and the body starts to manufacture more red blood cells.
Urine that is made by each kidney flows through the ureter, a tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. Urine is stored within the bladder, and when urination occurs, the bladder empties urine through a tube called the urethra.
What Causes Kidney Malfunction
A major culprit of kidney problems is an acidic diet . A brand-new study sheds light on the renal problems that can be caused by a high-acid, meat-rich diet.
The study followed 1,500 people with kidney disease for a period of 14 years. Participants who ate a diet high in meat came very close to experiencing complete kidney failure, while those who ate more fruits and vegetables did not even come close to kidney failure. Researchers estimate that an acidic diet can make it three times more likely for your kidneys to fail.1
Says lead study author Dr. Tanushree Banejee,
Patients with chronic kidney disease may want to pay more attention to diet consumption of acid rich foods to reduce progression to kidney failuredialysis treatmentsmay be avoided by adopting a more healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.1
When To See A Gp
See a GP if you feel feverish and have pain that will not go away in your tummy, lower back or genitals.
Contact a GP immediately if you think your child may have a kidney infection.
If you cannot get a GP appointment and need urgent medical attention, go to your nearest urgent care centre .
If you do not have a local UCC, go to your nearest A&E.
Don’t Miss: What Is Stage 4 Kidney Disease Mean
Interesting Facts About Your Kidneys And Liver:
- Both the kidneys and liver are located in the abdominal region which, when combined with the pelvic cavity , forms the largest body cavity!
- The presence of the liver over the right kidney pushes it down about one centimeter than the level of the left kidney. It means the two renal organs do not lie at the same level along the horizontal line.
When To See A Doctor For Kidney Pain
Kidney pain that you feel in your middle back or that radiates to your abdomen or groin is usually an indicator of a serious health condition.
According to Dr. Charles Patrick Davis, you should visit your doctor promptly if you suspect kidney pain. Some of the warning signs of kidney disease or problems are:
- Sharp flank pain that comes on suddenly
- A dull, constant one-sided pain in your back or side
- Blood in your urine
Recommended Reading: What Size Kidney Stone Is Considered Large
How Close Are The Liver And Kidneys In Your Body
The kidneys do not lie at the same distance from liver. The right one lying just below the liver is closer to this accessory digestive organ than the left one. A wedge-shaped organ with four lobes of unequal size and shape, the major part of the hepatic organ lies above the right kidney. That is why, the right kidney gets lowered than the left one.
Filtration Reabsorption And Secretion
You May Like: Can You Live Off Of One Kidney
Symptoms Of Kidney Pain
- A dull ache that’s usually constant
- Pain under your rib cage or in your belly
- Pain in your side; usually only one side, but sometimes both hurt
- Sharp or severe pain that may come in waves
- Pain that can spread to your groin area or belly
Other symptoms that can happen with kidney pain
The symptoms of your kidney pain depend on its cause. With kidney pain you may also have:
- Blood in your urine
The Need To Monitor Kidney Function With Certain Drugs
Experts have suggested that after the initial assessment of kidney function, physicians should consider regular monitoring after starting or increasing the dosage of drugs associated with nephrotoxicity, especially those used chronically in patients with multiple risk factors for impaired kidney function, Dr. Naughton noted. If there is any sign of kidney harm, the provider should review the medications you are taking in order to identify which one is causing the problem.
If multiple medications are present and the patient is clinically stable, physicians should start by discontinuing the drug most recently added to the patients medication regimen. Once that has been taken care of, further harm to the kidneys may be minimized by keeping blood pressure stable, staying hydrated, and temporarily avoiding the use of other medications that may cause nephrotoxicity.
These safety tips can ensure you get the care you need while keeping your kidneys safe. That way, they can tend to essential functions like keeping things flowing .Originally published May 11, 2017
Shortness Of Breath After Very Little Effort
Why this happens:
Being short of breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.
What patients said:
At the times when I get the shortness of breath, it’s alarming to me. It just fears me. I think maybe I might fall or something so I usually go sit down for awhile.
I couldn’t sleep at night. I couldn’t catch my breath, like I was drowning or something. And, the bloating, can’t breathe, can’t walk anywhere. It was bad.
If Related To Each Other Do They Make A Part Of The Same Organ System
Even though the kidneys and liver are somewhat related to each other in their function that is, their role to help the body get rid of harmful substances they do not make a part of the same organ system. While a kidney is a central component of the urinary system, the liver is grouped as an accessory digestive organ.
Here it is also pertinent to mention that the kidneys also contribute to the endocrine system of the body. Their endocrine function originates from the presence of the adrenal glands, one on the top of each kidney. These glands secrete a variety of hormones and release them directly into the blood circulation.
Read Also: What Eases Kidney Stone Pain
What Causes A Kidney Infection
Scientists believe that most kidney infections start as a bladder infection that moves upstream to infect one or both of your kidneys. Most often, the infection is caused by bacteria that normally live in your bowel. The urinary tract has several ways to prevent infection from moving up the urinary tract. For example, urination most often flushes out bacteria before it reaches the bladder. Sometimes your body cant fight the bacteria and the bacteria cause a UTI. If you dont get medical treatment to stop the infection, the bacteria may infect your kidneys.
In some cases, your blood can carry bacteria or viruses from another part of your body to your kidneys.
Common Symptoms Of Kidney Pain
Musculoskeletal problems are common causes of back pain. However, back pain can also be a sign of a kidney problem. In addition to the pain in your middle back, groin area, or abdomen, kidney pain also comes with other symptoms, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- A strong urge to urinate but in small amounts
- Urine that is cloudy or has a foul odor
Read Also: How To Spot Kidney Problems
Clinical Relevance: Variation In Arterial Supply To The Kidney
The kidneys present a great variety in arterial supply; these variations may be explained by the ascending course of the kidney in the retroperitoneal space, from the original embryological site of formation to the final destination . During this course, the kidneys are supplied by consecutive branches of the iliac vessels and the aorta.
Usually the lower branches become atrophic and vanish while new, higher ones supply the kidney during its ascent. Accessory arteries are common . An accessory artery is any supernumerary artery that reaches the kidney. If a supernumerary artery does not enter the kidney through the hilum, it is called aberrant.
Causes And Risk Factors
Doctors dont know exactly what causes simple kidney cysts. They do have a few possible explanations. For example, each kidney has about a million tiny tubules that collect urine. Cysts may start to grow when a tube becomes blocked, swells up, and fills with fluid. Another possibility is that cysts start when pouches called diverticula form in weakened areas of the tubules and fill with fluid.
Youre more likely to have kidney cysts as you get older. By age 40, about 25 percent of people will have them. By age 50, about 50 percent of people will have kidney cysts. Men are at greater risk than women of developing kidney cysts.
PKD is an inherited condition, meaning its caused by changes to genes that are passed down through families.
Usually cysts dont cause any problems. However, sometimes they can lead to complications, including:
- infection in the cyst
- blockage of urine out of the kidney
- high blood pressure
PKD can damage the kidneys over time. About half of people with this condition will develop kidney failure by age 60.
To diagnose a kidney cyst, you might see a specialist called a urologist. Your doctor may take a blood or urine sample to see how well your kidneys are working.
You might also need one of these imaging tests:
If the cyst is small and doesnt cause any problems with your kidneys, you might not need to treat it. You may just have imaging tests done every 6 to 12 months to make sure the cyst hasnt grown.
Don’t Miss: Is Lemon Suitable For Kidney Patient
How Is Kidney Pain Treated
Treatment of kidney pain depends on what condition is causing it. In order to pinpoint a cause, a number of tools are available to help your doctor make a diagnosis:
- Urinalysis: Checks for the presence of blood, excess white blood cells , proteins, and certain chemicals that are linked to various kidney disorders.
- Imaging tests:Ultrasound or a CT scan provides an image of the physical structure of the kidneys and urinary tract, sees if stones are present, and helps determine if blood flow is adequate.
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.
Also Check: Can A Kidney Infection Cause Diarrhea
Do Both The Kidneys Like At The Equal Level
Though the extraordinarily efficient natural filters of your body may look to be similar in shape, size, and dimensions, they do not lie at the same level. Here it should be noted that the lift and the right kidneys do not weigh the same. Also, they vary in weight across genders.
The right kidney is about a centimeter lower than the left one. What does contribute to this spatial inequality? It is the liver, the army check post of your body, that sitting above the right kidney makes it get a bit lower than its counterpart to the left.
Medications That Can Harm The Kidneys
No matter what kind of medicine you take, whether OTC or prescription, it is destined to take a trip through your kidneys. Taking a drug the wrong way or in excessive amounts can damage these vital, bean-shaped organs and lead to serious complications. In the worst-case scenario, it could necessitate a kidney transplant.
Compared with 30 years ago, patients todayhave a higher incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, take multiple medications, and are exposed to more diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with the potential to harm kidney function, according to Cynthia A. Naughton, PharmD, senior associate dean and associate professor in the department of pharmacy practice at North Dakota State University. All of these factors are associated with an elevated risk of kidney damage.
An estimated 20% of cases of acute kidney failure are due to medications. The technical term for this scenario is nephrotoxicity, which is growing more common as the aging population grows, along with rates of various diseases.
The kidneys get rid of waste and extra fluid in the body by filtering the blood to produce urine. They also keep electrolyte levels balanced and make hormones that influence blood pressure, bone strength and the production of red blood cells. When something interferes with the kidneys, they cant do their job, so these functions can slow down or stop altogether.
Read Also: What Std Can Cause Kidney Infection
What Are Dialysis And Hemodialysis
Dialysis cleanses the body of waste products in the body by use of filter systems. There are two types of dialysis, 1) hemodialysis and 2) peritoneal dialysis.
Hemodialysis uses a machine filter called a dialyzer or artificial kidney to remove excess water and salt, to balance the other electrolytes in the body, and to remove waste products of metabolism. Blood is removed from the body and flows through tubing into the machine, where it passes next to a filter membrane. A specialized chemical solution flows on the other side of the membrane. The dialysate is formulated to draw impurities from the blood through the filter membrane. Blood and dialysate never touch in the artificial kidney machine.
For this type of dialysis, access to the blood vessels needs to be surgically created so that large amounts of blood can flow into the machine and back to the body. Surgeons can build a fistula, a connection between a large artery and vein in the body, usually in the arm, that allows a large amount of blood to flow into the vein. This makes the vein swell or dilate, and its walls become thicker so that it can tolerate repeated needle sticks to attach tubing from the body to the machine. Since it takes many weeks or months for a fistula to mature enough to be used, significant planning is required if hemodialysis is to be considered as an option.
Kidney And Flank Pain Causes
A number of different infections or injuries can cause kidney or flank pain. The most common causes include:
- Kidney stones: Masses made up of crystals that form in your urine and build up in your kidneys that can cause severe pain, especially during urination. They can be passed manually or, in more serious cases, removed surgically.
- Pyelonephritis An infection caused by bacteria traveling up from the bladder or from the blood into the kidneys.
- Polycystic;kidney disease : A genetic disease in which normal kidney tissue is replaced by cysts, PKD can cause the kidney to stop working.
- Kidney infarction: A rare condition in which kidney blood flow is disrupted. This can lead to acute kidney injury, decreased kidney function, kidney disease, and death.
- Hemorrhage of the kidney: A bleed in the kidney, possible from multiple causes.
- Kidney canceror tumor: Benign or cancerous masses in the kidney. Kidney cancer is found most often in older adults, with more men affected than women.
- Renal vein thrombosis: A clot that develops in the vein that drains blood from the kidneys.
In addition to kidney problems, upper back and side pain also can be caused by physical injury, arthritis, or gallbladder or gastrointestinal diseases. Its important to know when to seek care.
Read Also: How Does Flomax Work On Kidney Stones