March is National Kidney Month: Know Your Kidneys

March is National Kidney Month: Know Your Kidneys

Kidney function is critical for achieving Better Health. Every 30 minutes, your kidneys filter all the blood in your body. They remove waste, toxins, and excess fluid. Most people have two kidneys, but you can live with one (or less).

Each kidney is about the size of your fist and are located on both sides of the spine at the lowest level of the rib cage. Your kidneys are responsible for performing several functions, including:

  • Removing waste products from the body
  • Removing drugs from the body
  • Balancing the body’s fluids
  • Releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • Producing an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
  • Controlling the production of red blood cells

Your kidneys filter about 200 quarts of fluid every day. That’s enough to fill a bathtub. Your body eliminates the waste your kidneys have filtered in the form of urine. Most people release about two quarts of urine a day. The body then re-uses the other 198 quarts of fluid.

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How Your Kidneys Work

The process begins with blood flowing into your kidneys through a large blood vessel called the renal artery. Each kidney contains up to a million functioning units called nephrons. Within these nephrons are tiny blood vessels called glomeruli.

Glomeruli function much like a strainer used in cooking. They strain waste and extra water into the nephrons to make urine. The urine travels through tubes called ureters to your bladder and is then stored until release.

Also, during this kidney function process, glomeruli hold back protein and blood that the body needs, which is then returned to your bloodstream through the renal vein.

Your kidneys are highly complex organs that you must take care of. Therefore, it’s important to have regular screenings and blood and urine tests to measure your kidney’s health.

You should have your kidney function regularly tested if you have the following:

  • A family history of kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Regular use of certain medications, such as blood pressure medicine

Speak to your provider today about steps you can take to keep your kidneys healthy and strong.

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