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The location of kidney

Kidneys are vital excretory organs in our body. Normally, we human beings have two kidneys located in the abdominal cavity. One is on each side of the spine. The asymmetry within the abdominal cavity caused by the liver typically leads to the right kidney being slightly lower than the left, and left kidney being slightly more medical than the right.

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The structure of kidney

Each adult kidney weighs about 125-170g for males and 115-155g for females, and it is approximately 10-12cm in length, 5-6cm in width and 3-4cm in thicken. Also, the kidney has a bean-shaped structure with a convex and concave surface. Within each kidney, there are two important parts: renal parenchyma and renal pelvic.

The outer part of renal parenchyma is called renal cortex, while the inner part is called renal medulla. Renal cortex consists of more than one million of nephrons that include glomerulus, renal capsule and renal tubule. Renal medulla contains 10-20 renal pyramids. The top of renal pyramid is named renal papilla. The papilla empties urine into a minor calyx, and minor calyxes empty into major calyxes and then the renal pelvis. Renal artery is where blood enters into the kidney, while renal vein is where blood exits the kidney. The perfect structure of kidney determines the great kidney function.

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What is kidney function?

Kidneys play an important role to maintain our overall healthy. Generally speaking, kidneys have six basic function, all of which are accomplished by relatively simple mechanisms of filtration, secretion and reabsorption.

1. Excrete excess water, waste products and toxins

In our body, kidneys are responsible for not only excreting a variety of waste products produced by metabolism but also removing excess water that the body doesn’t need and toxins entering the body.

2. Formation of urine

This is the main kidney function. Normally, adults have about 1000-2000ml of urine one daily and the urine shows light yellow. More and less urine both can be associated with renal dysfunction.

3. Keep electrolyte and acid-base balance

Kidneys can help regulate the concentration of various electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, etc. These substances have an important role in maintaining the bone health, tooth health and reabsorption of vital nutrients, etc. Besides, kidneys can regulate the acid-base balance.

4. Regulate blood pressure

Even though kidney can’t sense blood directly, long-term regulation of blood pressure mainly depends on the kidney.

5. Prompt the formation of red blood cells

Kidneys can secrete Erythropoietin (EPO) that functions on bone marrow hematopoietic system to tell the body produce red blood cells. This is why people may have anemia when their kidneys are damaged.

6. Boost the activation of vitamin D

Vitamin D can prompt the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, the growth of bone and inhibiting the secretion of PTH. Kidneys can help vitamin D achieve these functions.

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How to preserve kidney function?

To protect our kidney from damage, many diet and lifestyle changes are helpful. Here, we would like to firstly introduce five tips:

● Limit the intake of sodium, because high sodium intake can cause high blood pressure or fluid retention.

● Pay attention to keep warm in the cold weather, in order to prevent the blood vessels from shrinking

● Control high blood pressure and diabetes well, since they have been the top two leading causes of kidney disease.

● Don’t take medications blindly. Some painkillers, cold medications, and some other drugs may have renal toxicity.

● Drink enough water. This is a good way to increase kidney output so as to remove waste products and toxins from the body timely.

If one person has kidney disease, what symptoms may appear?

With the progress of kidney disease, the following symptoms will appear one by one:

● Proteinuria

● High blood pressure

● Hematuria

● Swelling

● Renal anemia

● Itching skin

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What tests need to be done for kidney disease diagnosis?

An accurate diagnosis can make sure patients receive correct treatment to a large extent. If you are suspected to have kidney disease, you may need to do the following test items:

● Creatinine

● BUN

● 24h urine protein

● Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)

● Urine test

● Blood test

● Lymphocyte subsets

● Urine protein electrophoresis

● Diagnosis of hematuria position

Once the person is diagnosed with kidney disease, he or she should receive effective treatment timely, otherwise, it may develop into end-stage renal disease (ESRD). From this point, we can know how it is important to protect our kidneys.

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