Kidneys are very important organs. They clean the blood and regulate the fluids in thebody. Kidneys are vulnerable to many diseases. Some kidney diseases are lifethreatening, and others can lead to complete kidney failure and require dialysis.This reference summary explains how the kidneys work, as well as a serious diseaseof the kidneys called end-stage renal disease, or ESRD.
Kidneys are bean-shaped organs located in the middle to lower back, on both sides of the spine. The urine that is formed in the kidneys flows through tubes, called ureters,to be stored in the bladder.When the bladder is full, a person feels theurge to urinate. Urine is emptied throughthe urethra. The main purpose of thekidneys is to make urine by filtering harmfulchemicals, called toxins, out of the blood.The kidneys also help to keep necessarychemical substances
the blood, such assodium, proteins, and sugars.The kidneys control the amount of fluid we
KidneyUreter Bladder Urethra
keep in our bodies. For example, when we drink more fluids then we need, thekidneys secrete extra urine. On the other hand, when we do not drink as much fluid aswe need, the kidneys make less urine.The kidneys help to regulate hormones that strengthen our bones and produce redblood cells. Since the kidneys constantly filter the blood, they are very sensitive toanything we eat or drink, or to any medications we take.
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Last reviewed: 03/20/2008