Kidneys – useful information
I felt it would be useful for people to have some knowledge on exactly what part kidneys play in maintaining a healthy body. Understanding also why they fail and what treatment is available – knowing what it is like to live with kidney failure and being on dialysis. Please understand though, I am no medical expert and the following information was gathered from various medical websites and the reliability of information given you would need to check with your own doctor.
What do Kidneys do?
- Most people have two kidney which are each around 4″ long and 2.5″ wide
- They can be found just behind the lower ribs and at the back of the body
- Kidneys act as a filtering system
- Blood passes through the kidneys to be cleaned
- Gets rid of waste products and excess fluid
- The waste and excess fluid is excreted out of the body via the bladder as
- Balances the body’s fluid content
- Produces hormones that control blood pressure
- Produces the hormone Erythropoietin to help make red blood cells
- Activates vitamin D to maintain strong healthy bones
- Regulation of the body’s salt, potassium and acid content is performed by
As blood passes through the kidneys, it is “cleaned” – the body’s waste products and excess fluid are removed. The waste products come from the breakdown of tissues such as muscles and from food. Once the body has taken what it wants from food, the wastes are then sent to the blood. These waste products, along with the excess fluid, are then sent through the ureters to the bladder. Then they are passed out of the body as urine. If the kidneys did not remove the wastes from the blood, then they would build up and damage the body.
Kidney disease usually affects both kidneys.
There are many causes of chronic kidney disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease.
There can be inherited diseases. Polycystic kidney disease is the most common inherited kidney disease.
Where are your Kidneys? -interactive animation
How do your Kidneys work? – excellent animation showing you how they work
NHS Kidney Care website
Videos from NHS Kidney Care
Interesting Facts about Kidneys - Dr. Simon Prince from the USA
Patients with kidney disease can be treated with diet and medication and also dialysis or a kidney transplant.
There are two different type of dialysis:
Haemodialysis: This is where the blood is cleared of toxins outside the body.
Peritoneal dialysis: This is where the cleaning is done inside the body.
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