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How the Kidneys Work


Picture of how the kidneys work

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located on either side of the spine, just below the ribs. The kidneys filter wastes from the blood and help balance water, salt, and mineral levels in the blood.

To do this, blood from the body enters the kidney. Inside the kidney, blood is filtered and waste is removed. Salt, water, and minerals are added if needed. The filtered blood is returned to the body and the waste from the blood is sent to the bladder as urine.

Blood flow to the kidneys is very important for the kidneys to work well. If blood flow to a kidney gets blocked, part or all of that kidney may die. This can lead to kidney failure.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerTushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
Last RevisedMay 10, 2011

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