John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
The kidneys are a pair of small (about the size of your fist-sized,) bean-shaped organs that lie on either side of your the spine locatedat just below your the lowest ribs. They filter by-products and toxins from your the blood and preserve the balance of bodily fluids and electrolytes.
The kidneys excrete these compounds with water to make urine.
They also eliminate excess body water while reabsorbing useful chemicals and allowing waste to pass freely into the bladder as urine.
They allow a person to consume a variety of foods, drugs, vitamins and
nutritional supplements, additives, and excess fluids without worry that toxic by-products will build up to harmful levels.
The kidneys regulate the amount of various substances in the blood and the amount of water in the body.
Blood circulates through the kidneys for filtration.
As the first step in filtration, the blood passes through the glomeruli, complex structures composed of tiny blood vessels entwined together. Substances present in the blood are selectively filtered across the outer linings of the tiny blood vessels and excreted with water as urine or reabsorbed into tube-like structures (tubules) for further filtration.
The tubules continue filtering blood until all appropriate substances are reabsorbed into the blood and all the waste products are excreted.
Once urine leaves the kidney, it travels through long, thin tubular ureters to the bladder and out the urethra during urination.
The kidneys also help regulate blood pressure and secrete hormones that contribute to red blood cell production.
Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys partly or completely lose their ability to filter water and waste from the blood.
The build up of toxic substances normally removed from the body by the kidneys can cause dangerous health problems.
Mild kidney dysfunction is often called renal insufficiency.
Acute kidney failure occurs in about 5% of people who are hospitalized for any reason. It is even more common in those receiving intensive care.
Chronic kidney failure results when a disease slowly destroys
the kidneys. Destruction occurs over many years, usually with no symptoms until the late stage of kidney failure. Progression may be so gradual that symptoms may not occur until kidney function is less than one-tenth of normal.