Kidneys: The filter units of the body

Kidneys: The filter units of the body

As humans we are surprisingly clueless about our own bodies. Our bodies are complex units that function well due to the little factories that work each and every second of the day to keep our bodies in tune. Kidneys are amazing organs weighing around 115 to 170 grams placed in the lumbar region, which filter around 1 liter of blood every minute. Like every other organ in the body, the kidneys don’t only filter the blood but also maintain the internal environment of the body. Kidneys help to maintain blood pressure, fluid levels in the body, acidity of the blood and in dangerous cases also try to eliminate high sugar from the body.

Kidneys may look simple by using plain mechanisms to filter off the blood, but their efficiency is actually seen by conserving the fluids and nutrients according to the body’s needs. Kidneys filter around 160 -180 liters of blood per day and manage to generate 2 liters of urine. This shows how efficient our systems are by reabsorbing around 98% of the fluids back.

Kidneys maintain the body’s internal environment by sensing the condition of the fluid and taking appropriate measure to correct the changes in the fluids. If the kidneys sense higher fluid levels in the blood, the kidneys will excrete more water to maintain the balance. This is why one tends to urinate more after consuming water frequently. In the reverse of this condition, the kidneys will send messages to the brain to release hormones that will conserve salt and water. This will cause the formation of concentrated urine. If you do experience passing concentrated urine, it’s about time that you start drinking enough water and remove the stress from your kidneys on the conserving part.

Kidneys also try to increase blood pressure through important mechanisms and help in in red blood cell production. Survival without kidneys is very hard; kidney failure could lead to death within days if not supported by supportive medical measures.  Creatinine Urea and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) are the first common tests that determine kidney function as these chemicals are always filtered efficiently. If the levels are above normal then you probably need to change your diet to reduce the stress on the kidneys. Reducing proteins and increasing vegetables would solve this issue.

Kidneys also convert vitamin D to its active form. Vitamin D is extremely important in maintenance of many of the body systems. When kidneys are affected by disease, all our various processes to balance our body’s inner environment go down. It’s usually a matter of time when kidneys go into failure and cause death. Sometimes it could be really sudden, other times it is slower and takes years.

Most chronic conditions could lead to kidney failure. However, interventions in such conditions could prevent kidney failure and increase the patient’s life expectancy. People with chronic conditions like Hypertension or Diabetes need to take care and be observant enough to feel changes that could be damaging to the kidney.

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