What Should You Know About Kidney Function?

Apr 29, 2022

Kidney Disease

What Should You Know About Kidney Function?

The kidneys are one of the most important organs in the human body. Kidney failure can result in major sickness or even death. Each kidney has a unique structure and function. In this blog, we will learn more about the kidneys and their important functions in the body.

The Importance of the Kidneys

Most individuals know that one of the kidneys' primary functions is to eliminate waste materials and excess fluid from the body. The urine removes these waste materials and extra fluid. Urine production involves a series of very intricate excretion and reabsorption procedures. This mechanism is required to keep the body's chemical equilibrium in balance.

The kidneys are responsible for the vital control of the body's salt, potassium, and acid levels. In addition, the kidneys create hormones that influence the operation of other organs. A hormone generated by the kidneys, for example, increases red blood cell formation. Other hormones interact with the kidneys to regulate blood pressure and calcium metabolism.

Kidneys and Their Function

Kidneys are bean-shaped fist-sized organs located on both sides of the spine at the lowest level of the rib cage. There are approximately one million functioning units called nephrons in the kidneys. A nephron is made up of a glomerulus, which is a filtering unit of microscopic blood capillaries connected to a tubule. When blood enters the glomerulus, it is filtered, and the residual fluid flows down the tubule. Chemicals and water are added to or removed from this filtered fluid in the tubule according to the demands of the body, with the result being urine.

Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is characterized as having a kidney anomaly, such as protein in the urine, and having impaired kidney function for three months or more.

There are various causes of chronic kidney disease, which include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure is otherwise known as hypertension
  • Congenital conditions
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Kidney stones
  • Polycystic kidney disease

Warning Signs of Kidney Disease

Usually, both the kidneys are affected by kidney disease. Although various kidney diseases do not have symptoms until the disease progress further, here are some signs you should be aware of:

  • High blood pressure
  • Frothy urine which indicates possibly increased protein in the urine
  • A blood test for creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) that is over the normal range
  • GFR rate of less than 60
  • Frequent and painful urination, especially during the night
  • Dark or red/blood-colored urine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of feet and hands along with puffiness around the eyes

How to Detect Chronic Kidney Disease?

Early detection and treatment of chronic kidney disease are critical to preventing kidney failure. To diagnose early kidney disease, there are a few basic tests that can be initially performed. Some of these tests include:

  • Protein test in the urine. Your nephrologist will test your urine to see the quantity of protein present. A high level of protein in your urine might indicate that your kidney's filtration units have been affected by illness.
  • Urine microscopy to look for abnormal cell numbers such as red blood cells.
  • Blood creatinine test. Your doctor will estimate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) based on your results, as well as your age, race, gender, and other characteristics. Your GFR is one indication of how well the kidneys are functioning.

Can Kidney Disease Be Treated Successfully?

Yes, many kidney diseases can be effectively treated. Controlling diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure can help prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease. Kidney stones and urinary tract infections are frequently treatable. Your nephrologist can guide you on the likelihood that kidney disease may or may not progress.

How to Treat Kidney Failure?

Hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or kidney transplantation are the ways with which kidney failures can be treated. 

  • Hemodialysis treatment can be done at a dialysis unit or home. Hemodialysis is typically conducted three times each week in a dialysis center. At home, it may be performed more frequently.
  • Peritoneal dialysis is often performed at home daily. This form of dialysis may or may not require the use of a machine which allows more flexibility for patients.
  • Kidney transplants are typically the best option if the patient is a good candidate. The kidney might come from a deceased donor or from a live donor, who could be a relative, friend, or even a stranger who donates a kidney to anybody in need of a transplant.

Are you suffering from kidney problems and are looking for a nephrologist near you? If so, contact Kidney Physicians of Indiana in Indianapolis today to schedule an appointment. We are one of the best kidney clinics in Hoosier state. Our team of highly experienced and board-certified kidney specialists is committed to taking full care of you and your loved ones. Our healthcare providers can treat and manage most kidney disorders.

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