Your kidneys are fist-sized organs located at the bottom of your rib cage, on both sides of your spine. They perform several functions.
Most importantly, they filter waste products, excess water, and other impurities from your blood. These waste products are stored in your bladder and later expelled through urine. In addition, your kidneys regulate pH, salt, and potassium levels in your body.
They also produce hormones that regulate blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells. Your kidneys are also responsible for activating a form of vitamin D that helps your body absorb calcium for building bones and regulating muscle function.
Maintaining kidney health is important to your overall health and general well-being. By keeping your kidneys healthy, your body will filter and expel waste properly and produce hormones to help your body function properly.
1. What healthy kidney do?
- Regulate the body’s fluid levels
- Filter wastes and toxins from the blood
- Release a hormone that regulates blood pressure
- Activate vitamin D to maintain healthy bones
- Release the hormone that directs production of red blood cells - Keep blood minerals in balance (sodium, phosphorus, potassium)
2. How would I know if I have a kidney disease?
- Several blood and urine screening tests can check for kidney damage and evaluate how well your kidneys are working. Nephrologists use several sophisticated tests.
- Your urine can reveal a great deal about the functioning of your kidneys. Blood in the urine, called hematuria, can indicate kidney stones, a kidney injury or a urinary tract infection. Sometimes the urine is high in protein, called proteinuria or albuminuria.
- Larger amounts of protein in the urine can be a sign of early kidney disease. If not controlled, increased amount s of protein in the urine can lead to kidney damage.
- Blood tests can reveal the amount of waste products such as urea, creatinine and nitrogen in the blood that indicate kidney disease and its stage.
- The creatinine level indicates how well the tiny filters in the kidneys are doing their job filtering out wastes. This level is called the GFR, and the higher the number the better your kidneys are functioning.
- Most people do not have symptoms of decreased kidney function until the GFR is 20–30, and they do not feel sick until it is 10–15. Like knowing your blood pressure numbers, you should know your GFR.
3. How is kidney disease treated?
You may reduce some of the progression of chronic kidney disease with lifestyle changes such as:
- Controlling high blood pressure and blood sugar
- Eating a healthy lower protein and lower salt diet
- Losing weight
- Stopping smoking
- Avoiding certain medications as the disease progresses you may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Barley Green