the nephron, left, tiny blood vessels
intertwine with urine-collecting tubes.
Each kidney contains about 1
million nephrons, which do the
major work of filtering wastes.
relatively small in size compared to the heart
the kidneys are an exceedingly complex organ, a "super
filter" with a great many roles to play in the body.
primary role is maintaining the body's homeostatic balance
for example, the amount of acid or salts that build
up in the bloodstream. It's an important task they perform
by filtering various minerals and metabolites out of the blood,
which exit the body via the bladder and urinary
other functions, the kidneys are in charge of keeping the
body's pH balance at an ideal 7.5, along with producing hormones
that keep your bones strong.
important job kidneys perform is steadying blood pressure,
by controlling sodium ion reabsorption into the bloodstream.
Keeping kidneys healthy
The kidneys process upwards of ninety liters of blood every
day, and although it's true that we have two kidneys (and
that one can do the job), it's a much better idea to keep
both as healthy as possible!
Since the kidneys are so important in keeping our system working properly, serious complications can arise from kidney diseases. One of
the most prevalent causes of stress on the kidneys is dehydration,
since without supplies of fresh water the kidneys will have
to recycle "dirty" fluids, often resulting in infection
stones (also see: Why Summer is Kidney Stone Season.)
common stress on the kidneys is the consumption of too much
fatty meat and dairy, both of which strain the kidneys to
some degree. And of
course, overconsumption of alcohol is no friend to the kidneys. While alcoholism is often associated with liver disease, drinking large amounts of alcohol can also lead to high blood pressure, a major cause of kidney malfunction.
Since eating a diet rich in fats and proteins are also suspected culprits in developing kidney disease (including kidney cancer) a more balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables are recommended for keeping kidneys always functioning at their best.
about kidneys around the Web:
Kidneys and How They Work - Check out a comprehensive guide with
information on what the kidneys do and important tasks they
perform, common causes of kidney failure and disease, with
related diagrams and illustrations.
Kidney Foundation A-Z Health Guide
- How to avoid or treat kidney disease with comprehensive
information on diet, nutrition, related infections, kidney
stones, kidney failure, dialysis and kidney transplants.
stone - This Wikipedia entry on the topic offers information
on symptoms, causes & cures including related photos,
references and resources.