Kidney plays an important role to keep us healthy, but sadly most of us really do not know much more about our kidneys – even when they start to go wrong, they still work quietly in the background. We have two kidneys, which are kidney-shaped organs, located either side of the spine, deep in the abdomen. Well, it is also possible to live an active and healthy life with only one functioning kidney. So, let’s explore how well do you know your kidneys?
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How Well Do You Know Your Kidneys?
To know the answer to the question of how well do you know your kidneys? First of all, you should understand the working of it. Kidneys are responsible for the cleanse the blood for toxins and transform the waste into urine. The weight of each kidney is around 160 grams and gets rid of around one to one-and-a-half liters of urine each day. Both kidneys together filter around 180 liters of fluid within the day.
When your kidneys are not working properly, harmful toxins, as well as excess fluids, build up inside the body, which may cause kidney failure. These symptoms can include extreme tiredness or lethargy, high blood pressure, persistent headaches, swelling in the ankles and face, fluid retention and/or lower back pain.
What Do The Kidneys Do?
The kidneys are vital life-sustaining organs that perform multiple functions to keep your blood chemically balanced and clean. They do a number of important functions like:
- It filters the blood to get rid of the waste products of metabolism.
- Keep the water content and electrolytes of the body constant.
- Secrete a number of essential hormones.
The body uses food for energy and self-repair, after that the waste is sent to the blood. The most common waste products of the body are urea and creatinine, but there are some other substances that need to be eliminated. The kidneys work as a very efficient filter for ridding the body of toxic substances and returning vital substances like vitamins, amino acids, glucose, hormones into the bloodstream. The kidneys receive high blood flow and this is filtered by very specialized blood vessels. It is important to make the body function efficiently.
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Water and Electrolytes:
All the cells in the body, except the outer skin, are surrounded by a fluid which is known as the extracellular fluid. To work properly, the extracellular fluid needs to have a stable composition of salts like potassium and sodium – and acidity (often referred to as pH). The kidneys are the main organ to maintaining the correct balances of these fluids and the effective functioning of all the cells of the body.
The balance of salt and water is maintained by a series of hormones acting on the kidney. The kidneys recognize and act upon a series of messages which vary according to the intake of the fluids. If a person does not drink sufficient fluids, the body becomes more concentrated, as a result, the kidneys excrete more concentrated urine. If an excess amount of fluid is drunk, the fluids of the body become more diluted, and the kidneys expel more dilute urine, getting rid of the excess which has been taken in.
These mechanisms are very effective. If the body is in an adequate balance, around 80% of the ingested fluid is expelled within an hour.
Salts also need to take within very strict limits. If you intake excess sodium, the amount of sodium in the blood increases and you will become thirsty and drink fluid. The body feels this increase in water and salt, and again, through a series of messages, the kidney excretes the excess.
The kidneys secrete a number of hormones, that are important for the normal functioning of the body.
One such hormone is renin, that keeps blood pressure normal. If blood pressure falls down, renin is produced by the kidneys to constrict the small blood vessels, thereby increasing blood pressure. If the kidneys aren’t able to function correctly, too much renin can be secreted which can increase blood pressure and sometimes resulting in hypertension. This is the reason people with kidney diseases also have high blood pressure.
Erythropoietin is another hormone that is secreted by the kidney and acts on the bone marrow to increase the production of red blood cells. If kidney function decrease, it is not able to produce sufficient hormone and the number of red blood cells being produced will also decrease, which results in anemia. This is why many people with reduced kidney function will have anemia – a low blood count.
In the end, now you are able to answer how well do you know your kidneys? Now, it is clear kidneys work a lot to keep us healthy and fit. So, now it’s our responsibility to take care of the kidney’s health. For this takes a proper diet which helps to keep kidney healthy and doesn’t ignore any symptoms of kidney problem and consult to your doctor without delay.
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