Why Are The Kidneys So Important
Most people know that a major function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body. These waste products and excess fluid are removed through the urine. The production of urine involves highly complex steps of excretion and re-absorption. This process is necessary to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals.
The critical regulation of the body’s salt, potassium and acid content is performed by the kidneys. The kidneys also produce hormones that affect the function of other organs. For example, a hormone produced by the kidneys stimulates red blood cell production. Other hormones produced by the kidneys help regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.
The kidneys are powerful chemical factories that perform the following functions:
- remove waste products from the body
- remove drugs from the body
- balance the body’s fluids
- release hormones that regulate blood pressure
- produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
- control the production of red blood cells
Below you will find more information about the kidneys and the vital role they play in keeping your body functioning.
What Are The Kidneys Where Are They Located
The kidneys play key roles in body function, not only by filtering the blood and getting rid of waste products, but also by balancing the electrolyte levels in the body, controlling blood pressure, and stimulating the production of red blood cells.
The kidneys are located in the abdomen toward the back, normally one on each side of the spine. They get their blood supply through the renal arteries directly from the aorta and send blood back to the heart via the renal veins to the vena cava.
What Do The Kidneys Do In Our Body
Kidney is considered as one of the major organs of the body. This is because of its important role in various functions that keep us in healthy condition. The major functions of it include the following.
- Maintenance of fluid volume within the body.
- Maintenance of acid-base equilibrium within the body.
- Blood is purified of waste products, chemicals and toxins by the kidneys.
- Electrolytes such as Sodium, potassium and chloride are kept in the required amount in body with the help of the kidneys.
- Kidneys are also known to produce hormones and chemicals required for information transmission through nerves.
This article will discuss a bit more about the anatomy of the kidney as well as possible causes for kidney pain.
Don’t Miss: Is Watermelon Good For Your Kidneys
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.;
Promoting Good Kidney Health
Proper care can keep kidneys running properly well into old age. One of the most important things to remember is to stay hydrated. Kidneys need water to function properly and to carry away toxins.;
In the most serious cases, dehydration can eventually harm the body causing seizures, kidney failure and even death, said;Dr.;Buck;Parker, a trauma surgeon who also recently appeared on NBCs reality TV show The Island. Parker suggested that the best ways to avoid dehydration included drinking water before you get thirsty, since thirst indicates dehydration; eating foods, like fruits and vegetables, with a high water content; avoiding soda or other caffeinated drinks; and limiting alcohol consumption.
Vitamins can be very important to the function and health of kidneys. helps to reduce levels of homocysteine, which has been linked to heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, said Dr. Kristine Arthur, an internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. Vitamin A is also very important to healthy kidney function.;
Taking too much vitamin C, though, may lead to kidney stones, according to Arthur.
Keeping blood pressure in check may also contribute to long-term good kidney health. A study by the;National Kidney Foundation;found that moderately high blood pressure levels in midlife might contribute to late-life kidney disease and kidney failure.
Also Check: Can Cushing’s Disease Cause Kidney Problems
What Is The Prognosis And Life Expectancy For Kidney Failure Can It Be Prevented
The outlook for kidney failure depends upon the underlying condition that caused it. Kidney function may return to normal, especially if it is due to an acute obstruction and that obstruction is relieved. Other causes of decreased kidney function leading to kidney failure are due to underlying disease and occur slowly over time.
Prevention is the best chance to maintain kidney function, and controlling high blood pressure and diabetes over a lifetime can decrease the potential for progressive kidney damage. Chronic kidney failure may be managed to help monitor electrolyte and waste product levels in the bloodstream. Major abnormalities can be life-threatening, and treatment options may be limited to dialysis or transplant.
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.
You May Like: Can You Live Without Your Kidneys
What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Kidney Diseases
The doctor usually will do a history and physical examination. Initial tests usually consist of a complete blood count , kidney function , and urine test, and when appropriate, a pregnancy test. A lacerated kidney may be suspected if the person has experienced a traumatic injury to the lower back.
If kidney stones are suspected, a CT exam or renal ultrasound is done; an abdominal X-ray may be ordered but has been replaced in general by ultrasound and CT. As patients with kidney stones often need repeat X-ray studies or have repeat episodes of kidney stones, ultrasound with its lack of radiation is a good study to consider. Abdominal/pelvic CTs with contrast or magnetic resonance imaging and aortogram may be ordered to further define or differentiate underlying kidney and nonrenal causes of flank pain. Such studies are routinely performed if a kidney is suspected to be damaged by a traumatic event .
What Causes Kidney Failure
Kidney failure may occur from an acute situation that injures the kidneys or from chronic diseases that gradually cause the kidneys to stop functioning.
In acute renal failure, kidney function is lost rapidly and can occur from a variety of insults to the body. Since most people have two kidneys, both kidneys must be damaged for complete kidney failure to occur. Fortunately, if only one kidney fails or is diseased it can be removed, and the remaining kidney may continue to have normal kidney function. If both patient’s kidneys are injured or diseased, a donor kidney may be transplanted.
The list of causes of kidney failure is often categorized based on where the injury has occurred.
Prerenal causes causes are due to decreased blood supply to the kidney. Examples of prerenal causes of kidney failure are:
- Hypovolemia due to blood loss
You May Like: Can Kidney Disease Cause Diarrhea
What To Avoid If You Have Kidney Problems
The kidneys are a part of the elimination organ system and work alongside the colon and skin to eliminate toxic waste from the body. Therefore, when the kidneys are not working properly, our liver, colon and the skin take the brunt of the work and become weaker themselves. If one team member suffers, the whole team feels the effects.
When the kidneys arent healthy, we can experience many physical symptoms that may not be chronic and debilitating but that can significantly decrease our quality of life. We can feel extremely lazy and depressed, have joint pain, gain weight easily, become constipated, suffer from dry, cracked skin and nails, lose hair, develop cellulite or endocrine system disruption, which gives rise to thyroid and adrenal issues, for example.;
Of course, pollutants and chemicals in our environment are also a challenge to the health of our kidneys. But there are also many foods that can damage kidney function profoundly! A diet devoid of electrolytes and minerals is a recipe for kidney malfunction, since the kidneys need a proper ratio of minerals to work properly.
Essentially, there are two food groups that I recommend be removed from the diet if you suspect your kidneys are weak and diseased. In fact, eliminating all inflammatory foods will work wonders in reversing the health symptoms related to systemic weakness and chronic disease. And further supplementing with healthy foods that heal will restore and rebuild bodily tissues and function.
What Do Your Kidneys Do
The kidneys job is to remove waste, control electrolytes and balance fluid levels in the blood.
Blood enters the kidneys through the renal arteries and leaves again through the renal veins.
All of the blood in your body passes through your kidneys several times a day.
The kidneys collect waste from the blood and convert it into urine, which is then filtered into the bladder.
The kidneys also work to reabsorb nutrients, such as sodium, glucose and magnesium, from the blood and transfer them where they are needed.
Another function of the kidneys is to balance fluid levels, keeping the ratio between fluids and minerals in the body in balance.
Absorption or ejection of sodium from the blood causes the blood vessels to expand or constrict, regulating blood pressure, so high blood pressure can have an adverse effect on your kidneys when they have to work too hard.
What else affects the health of your kidneys?
Is A Kidney Transplant An Option
If kidney failure occurs and is non-reversible, kidney transplantation is an alternative option to dialysis. If the patient is an appropriate candidate, the healthcare professional and nephrologist will contact an organ transplant center to arrange evaluation to see whether the patient is suitable for this treatment. If so, the search for a donor begins. Sometimes, family members have compatible tissue types and, if they are willing, may donate a kidney. Otherwise, the patient will be placed on the organ transplant list that is maintained by the United Network of Organ Sharing.
Not all hospitals are capable of performing kidney transplants. The patient may have to travel to undergo their operation. The most successful programs are those that do many transplants every year.
While kidney transplants have become routine, they still carry some risk. The patient will need to take anti-rejection medications that reduce the ability of the immune system to fight infection. The body can try to reject the kidney or the transplanted kidney may fail to work. As with any operation, there is a risk of bleeding and infection.
Kidney transplants may provide better quality of life than dialysis. After one year, 95% of transplanted kidneys are still functioning and after five years, the number is 80%. It seems that the longer a patient is on dialysis, the shorter the life of the transplanted kidney.
Are Your Kidneys Weak
There are many factors in modern day life that can weaken a persons kidneys, even though that person might not have a diagnosable kidney disorder.
Your kidneys are made of delicate filters called nephrons, the tiny functional units of the kidneys. The nephrons filter and clean the blood. If the blood pressure or blood sugar is too high, though, these filters can be damaged and thus cant perform the kidneys duties.
Certain lifestyle habits can damage the nephrons of the kidneys by producing oxidative stress, inflammation, or high blood pressure.
If your kidneys are not as strong as they should be, there are clues that your body gives you. You just have to look for them.
Recommended Reading: What Are Kidney Stones And Why Are They A Problem
Inadequate Concentration And Dizziness
A poor flow of oxygen to the brain is not only a clear sign of severe anemia, but also of renal failure. This makes the focus and concentration difficult, suffering from continuous dizziness and causing memory problems.
Tip: Incorporate healthy foods into your diet and take more antioxidant foods or supplements.
Kidney Pain And Alcohol Abuse
Although the kidneys do not directly filter alcohol, problems associated with the kidneys may be related to the alcohol abuse. Alcohol can affect certain renal hormones such as anti-diuretic hormone and result in dehydration.
Alcohol may also raises the risk of atherosclerosis and cause clot formation in the kidneys.
Recommended Reading: How To Break Up A Kidney Stone Procedures
Signs You May Have Kidney Disease
More than 37 million American adults are living with kidney disease and most dont know it. There are a number of physical signs of kidney disease, but sometimes people attribute them to other conditions. Also, those with kidney disease tend not to experience symptoms until the very late stages, when the kidneys are failing or when there are large amounts of protein in the urine. This is one of the reasons why only 10% of people with chronic kidney disease know that they have it, says Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, Chief Medical Officer at the National Kidney Foundation.
While the only way to know for sure if you have kidney disease is to get tested, Dr. Vassalotti shares 10 possible signs you may have kidney disease. If youre at risk for kidney disease due to high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure or if youre older than age 60, its important to get tested annually for kidney disease. Be sure to mention any symptoms youre experiencing to your healthcare practitioner.
What Clinical Trials Are Open
Clinical trials that are currently open and are recruiting can be viewed at www.ClinicalTrials.gov.
This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.
You May Like: How To Take Care Of My Liver And Kidneys
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.
How Does The Urinary System Work
The urinary system’s function is to filter blood and create urine as a waste by-product. The organs of the urinary system include the kidneys, renal pelvis, ureters, bladder and urethra.
The body takes nutrients from food and converts them to energy. After the body has taken the food components that it needs, waste products are left behind in the bowel and in the blood.
The kidney and urinary systems help the body to eliminate liquid waste called urea, and to;keep chemicals, such as potassium and sodium, and water in balance. Urea is produced when foods containing protein, such as meat, poultry, and certain vegetables, are broken down in the body. Urea is carried in the bloodstream to the kidneys, where it is removed along with water and other wastes in the form of urine.
Other important functions of the kidneys include blood pressure regulation and the production of erythropoietin, which controls red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Kidneys also regulate the acid-base balance and conserve fluids.
Also Check: Can Kidney Problems Cause Swollen Feet
What Causes Hydronephrosis
Hydronephrosis isnt a disease. Instead, it can be due to internal and external conditions that affect the kidney and the urinary collecting system.
One of the most common causes of hydronephrosis is acute unilateral obstructive uropathy. This is the sudden development of an obstruction in one of your ureters, which are the tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder.
A blocked ureter can cause urine to go back up into the kidney, which causes swelling. This backflow of urine is known as vesicoureteral reflux .
Other potential causes of a blockage include:
- a kink in the ureteropelvic junction, which is where the ureter meets the pelvis of the kidney
- an enlarged prostate gland in men, which can be due to benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostatitis
- pregnancy, which causes a compression due to a growing fetus
- tumors in or near the ureter
- a narrowing of the ureter from an injury or birth defect