This organ filters blood up to 300 times a day. It comes in a pair and shaped like a bean! They are located against the back muscles in the upper abdominal area. Do you know what they are yet?
The answer is: The Kidneys!
The kidneys have a large role to play in bodily function. Blood carries important nutrients to our cells, but also carries out the waste from them. Blood enters into the kidneys where salt and waste is filtered. This waste is then turned into urine. This organ also helps to keep fluids and electrolytes in balance. Without proper blood flow, the body would shut down. The study of the kidneys is called nephrology, while the waste function is studied under urology.
Unlike their name, kidney stones are not stones. The Mayo Clinic defines this as, “hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys.” Passing a kidney stones becomes painful when it enters the urinary tract. These symptoms include, “severe pain in the side and back, pain radiating to abdomen, pain with urination, pink, red, or brown urine, nausea, persistent need to urinate, urinating in small amounts and fever and chills.” Usually the stones are so small they will eventually pass, but larger ones require more treatment. Doctors may use sound waves to break up the stones, or surgery to remove them.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
PKD is a disorder where cysts form on the kidneys. This forces them to lose function over time. The Mayo Clinic writes that the symptoms are, “high blood pressure, back or side pain, headache, feeling of fullness in the abdomen, increased abdomen, blood in urine, kidney stones, kidney failure, and urinary tract and kidney infections.” This disease is an inherited condition caused by abnormal genes. There are several steps to take for prevention, “taking blood pressure medication, eating a low-salt diet, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and limiting alcohol use.”
Kidney Failure is described by the Mayo Clinic as your kidneys, “loosing their availability to remove waste products and extra fluids from your blood.” This happens when 85-90% of kidney function is lost. Hemodialysis uses a hemodialyzer to remove the waste from the blood with an artificial kidney. Peritoneal dialysis is done through the peritoneal cavity and use a catheter to clean the blood. If dialysis is proven to not work, the next option is to secure a new kidney.
Donating a Kidney
While kidneys cannot be grown yet, they can be used in the treatment of many nephrotic diseases. First, a donor’s kidney needs to be a match, and the person needs to be willing to donate. Usually, people will seek matches amongst relatives. Donating an organ is a noble sacrifice. Because humans can live with one kidney, donating one can be done while alive. This is opposed to when a person is a registered organ donor and has immediately died. Have you thought about becoming a registered organ donor? If you want to register to be an organ donor please visit this site by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Last year, Soma Technology wrote an article about Andrew Jones, a bodybuilder who was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart. He underwent a heart transplant and is thriving today.
Have you or someone you know undergone a procedure for a kidney infection or disease? Are you a registered organ donor? Please comment below!