Understanding the Kidney

How Does The Kidney System Function?

The kidney system, also known as the renal system, plays a crucial role in our body’s daily functions. It is composed of two kidneys, ureters, the bladder, and the urethra. Each kidney is made up of around a million nephrons, which are the kidneys’ working units. These nephrons are responsible for several vital functions, including eliminating waste and excess water from the body, regulating blood pressure, and balancing electrolytes and blood pH levels.

The process of urine formation begins in the kidneys, where nephrons filter out waste and excess water from the blood. This filtered fluid then travels down the ureters to the bladder, where it is stored until it is expelled from the body through the urethra. On average, a healthy individual produces about 1.5 litres of urine daily, though this amount can vary.

One remarkable aspect of kidney function is its resilience. A person can lose up to 70% of their kidney function without experiencing noticeable symptoms, thanks to the kidneys’ substantial functional reserve.

What is Nephrology ?

Nephrology is a specialized branch of medical science focused on the kidneys’ structure, function, and diseases. It encompasses the diagnosis, treatment, and management of kidney-related disorders, including chronic kidney disease (CKD), acute kidney injury (AKI), glomerulonephritis, hypertension, and electrolyte imbalances. Nephrologists are the medical professionals who delve deep into kidney health, employing a range of diagnostic tests such as blood and urine analysis, imaging studies, and kidney biopsies to assess kidney function and identify the root cause of renal problems. They play a crucial role in managing dialysis treatments for patients with end-stage renal disease and in the medical care of patients before and after kidney transplantation.

Common Kidney Issues Include:

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Infections that can occur in any part of the urinary system, often leading to discomfort and the urge to urinate frequently.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): The gradual loss of kidney function over time, which can lead to the buildup of waste products in the body.

Glomerulonephritis: An inflammation of the nephrons in the kidneys, which can affect the kidneys’ ability to filter waste and fluids effectively.

Understanding the kidney system’s functions and being aware of common kidney issues are crucial steps in maintaining kidney health and overall well-being. If you experience symptoms or have concerns about your kidney health, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.