are two fist-sized filters in your lower back. Blood flows through
these organic cleaning machines to remove excess water and other
waste products. The waste is passed on to your bladder as urine.
Every day, your kidneys clean about 200 quarts of blood to keep
your body healthy.
Your kidneys contain microscopic filtering
units called nephrons. The nephron is a combination of a very small blood vessel, a glomerulus,
and a urine collecting tube called a tubule. Blood enters the glomerulus and a complicated
chemical exchange takes place between the blood vessel and the tubule.
excess nutrients and water are drawn out of the blood in the tubule
and passed to the urinary system and bladder. The filtered
blood is passed back to the glomerulus and back to the rest
of your body. Each kidney has about a million nephrons.
As blood passes
through the kidneys, chemicals like sodium, phosphorus, and potassium
are measured. If there is too much, the kidneys will remove the
excess and release the rest back to the blood to return to the body.
Your kidneys were designed to test for the correct level of these
chemicals that your body needs to function. Your brain
also releases hormones that help the kidneys to know what the rest
of your body needs. If your kidneys are not filtering your blood
properly, it can be harmful for you.
When the blood passes through the kidneys,
three hormones are added to the mix.
or EPO, stimulates the bone marrow to make red blood cells.
Renin (REE-nin) controls the amount
of water in your blood to regulate blood pressure.
Calcitrol (kal-suh-TRY-ul) helps your
body use calcium.
If your kidneys
do not work the way they were designed to, the waste and excess
water is not removed from your blood, the balance of chemicals,
called electrolytes, in your blood can become harmful and the hormones
are not added.
diseases are the result of your brain not sending correct hormones
to the kidneys or your kidneys losing the ability to respond. Chronic
kidney disease (CKD) occurs, over time, when the kidneys are not
functioning the way they were designed to despite treatments and
changes in diet.
This can cause
may problems even in the earliest stages. Complete renal failure
can lead to death. Early detection and treatment can help prevent
the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure in many cases.
can cause kidney disease. However, studies have shown that you are
probably most at risk if you have diabetes,
blood pressure, or if a close member of your family also suffers
from kidney disease.
can cause chronic kidney disease by making the kidneys work too
hard to remove the excess water from your blood. Making a bad situation worse, kidney
malfunction may cause high blood pressure that adds even
more strain to weakened kidneys.
There are many
types of kidney disease which include:
medical researchers continue to look for a cure, there are
drugs currently available that help slow the course of serious kidney
include medications used to treat high blood pressure, diuretics
to treat fluid buildup, and other therapies such as those
that treat anemia which often develops in advanced chronic
In hemodialysis, the patient's blood is pumped through a dialyzer, exposing it to a partially permeable membrane. The dialyzer is composed of thousands of tiny synthetic hollow fibers. The fiber wall acts as the semipermeable membrane. Blood flows through the fibers, dialysis solution flows around the outside of the fibers, and water and wastes move between these two solutions. The cleansed blood is then returned via the circuit back to the body.
goal of kidney disease treatment, especially in cases of kidney
failure, is the elimination of minerals and toxins from the bloodstream. If chronic
kidney disease progresses to the point that kidneys cease
functioning, dialysis or kidney transplants are the most common
to dialysis, patients are usually advised to follow a proper
diet to help reduce the wastes that build up in the blood
caused by overly salty foods or those high in potassium (such
as bananas and oranges, some vegetables, chocolate and nuts),
and phosphorus (i.e., milk, cheese, nuts and cola drinks).
Dealing with kidney disease creates stress
for families coping with the disease as well as the person experiencing the symptoms. Dietary
changes, medical tests and treatments can mean difficult adjustments. These sites provide
online support, facts & information, and the progress shown in recent studies opening
new avenues for battling kidney disease ...
The Kidneys and How They Work - National Kidney and Urologic
Diseases Information Clearinghouse of the US National Institute
of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes
of Health provides an excellent source of information on how kidneys
work that is much easier to read than the name of the organization!
Plus - Kidney Diseases - Here's more on the various types of kidney diseases, along with the latest
news, treatment information, resources for coping, access to clinical trials,
and lots of other great resources.
Support Network - Join a huge online community for those
newly diagnosed with chronic kidney disease offering information, online forums, toll
free hotline, news & updates, podcasts, feature stories,
information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.