Updated on January 13, 2020
Your kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs on each side of your abdomen below your ribs. Each kidney is about 4 or 5 inches long around the size of your fist.
The kidney’s job is to filter your blood by removing waste products or toxins, regulate your fluid balance and maintain the correct levels of electrolytes such as potassium and sodium. The kidney also regulates haemoglobin production as well as acid-base balance in your body. Your blood passes through the kidneys 20-25 times a day and the waste products are excreted as urine.
Click to watch video on How your Kidneys Work
What does the kidney look like?
Each kidney has around a million tiny filters called nephrons which filters your blood. The useful ingredients are reabsorb back into your body through the tubules while the waste products and excess fluid is excreted through the ureters into the bladder as urine.
How is Kidney Function measured?
GFR (also known as Glomerular Filtration Rate) is equal to the total of the filtration rates of the functioning nephrons in the kidney. Normal GFR varies according to age, sex, and body size. GFR is considered the optimal way to measure kidney function in conjunction with other blood test measurements such as creatinine, urea, potassium , sodium, albumin as well as full blood count.
A decrease in GFR is a marker of kidney disease and precedes the onset of kidney failure.
What are the stages of kidney failure?
Stage 1 with normal or high GFR (GFR > 90 mL/min)
Stage 2 Mild CKD (GFR = 60-89 mL/min)
Stage 3A Moderate CKD (GFR = 45-59 mL/min)
Stage 3B Moderate CKD (GFR = 30-44 mL/min)
Stage 4 Severe CKD (GFR = 15-29 mL/min)
Stage 5 End Stage CKD (GFR <15 mL/min)
Symptoms of kidney failure include
- trouble sleeping
- dry, itchy skin
- puffiness around the eyes
- foot or ankle swelling
- reduced appetite
- muscle cramps
- increased or decreased urine
- blood in urine
- foamy urine
What can I do about it?
See your doctor regularly for check up and blood tests to monitor your kidney function. Look after your health by getting regular exercise, losing weight to your reach your optimum BMI, stop smoking and controlling any other illness your may have such as hypertension or diabetes. Consult a dietician to guide you to a better eating habit.
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If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.
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