The Wonder Organs: How Kidneys Work

March is the official “Kidney Month”! So, let's learn how kidneys, one of the most important organs in the body, work. You may know that Kidneys are the official “filter” for the human body but they are also responsible for so much more!

Blood Pressure

One of the kidneys’ most important jobs regulating blood pressure, the force of blood against the blood vessels. It does this by producing the the hormone aldosterone.1 Additionally, kidneys maintain levels of sodium, which if left unbalanced, could increase blood pressure. Increased blood pressure can cause heart disease, further kidney damage, strokes, and more.2

Red Blood Cell Production

A healthy kidney manufactures the hormone EPO, which signals the bone marrow to create new red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Without enough red blood cells, people expierence Anemia. This condition can cause fatigue, weakness, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, and more.3

Filter

As mentioned, the kidneys are the primary filters for the body. They remove toxins, like acids and minerals4, that would otherwise harm the body.

  • Minerals: The body needs levels of sodium, potassium, and calcium too be balenced. Too little and the body can’t function properly. Too much and the body will get damaged.

  • Acids: Filtering acids helps maintain the blood's pH balance.

Maintain Fluid Balance

When the body requires more water, the hormone ADH (antidiuretic hormone) informs the kidneys that they need to make less urine and allow more water to reabsorb into the blood.

Bone Health

According to You and Your Hormones, the kidneys “stimulate the uptake of calcium from food, which is extremely important for bone health.6

On the Rise

Despite the astounding importance of the kidneys, kidney problems are on the rise. According to President Trump’s 2019 Executive Order on Advancing Kidney Health, approximately 37 million Americans have kidney problems.7

Unfortunately, kidney problems are often silent until significant damage is already done, so get checked by a doctor and get checked frequently. This is one of the best ways to ensure your kidneys are functioning properly.

For more tips regarding kidney health click here.

 
 
 
 

 Works Cited

1How High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Kidney Damage or Failure. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/health-threats-from-high-blood-pressure/how-high-blood-pressure-can-lead-to-kidney-damage-or-failure.
2How high blood pressure can affect your body. (2019, January 9). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868.
3Anemia in Chronic Kidney Disease. (2014, July 1). Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/anemia.
4Your Kidneys & How They Work. (2018, June 1). Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidneys-how-they-work.
5Interactive resources for schools. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.abpischools.org.uk/topic/homeostasis-kidneys/6/1.
6Glands/Kidneys. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.yourhormones.info/glands/kidneys/.
7 Executive Order No. 13879, 3 C.F.R 33817 (2019). Retrieved from https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/07/15/2019-15159/advancing-american-kidney-health



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