What Do The Kidneys Do?
Most people know that the kidneys are vital organs, yet are unfamiliar with their exact functions. The kidneys, which are located under your rib cage on each side of the spine, have three main duties: filtration, mineral and hormone production and regulating water.
The kidneys are essentially your body’s main filtration system. When you eat or drink, your kidneys will regulate the amount of salt, potassium, and other nutrients that your body needs. The kidneys will then filter out unneeded waste and excess water. This gets expelled from the body as urine, the production of which involves highly complex steps of excretion and reabsorption. Simultaneously, the kidneys return necessary minerals and water to the bloodstream, maintaining a delicate balance of vitamins and fluids in the body.
Mineral and Hormone Production
The kidneys are responsible for producing hormones that stimulate red cell production, regulate blood pressure and control calcium levels. Kidneys also produce vitamin D that helps strengthen bones and bone development.
Hydration is very important for the body to function at its best capability. Under or over hydration will cause the body’s cells to function improperly, so it’s vital to keep a good balance -- this is where the kidneys come into play. As blood passes through the kidneys, they absorb certain elements like sodium and water, reintroducing them back into the bloodstream whenever needed. So, when water content in your blood plasma is high, the kidneys will turn the retained water into urine, making it more diluted. If water content in your blood plasma is low, the kidneys replenish the bloodstream with its collected water and urine will be more concentrated.
The kidneys are often underestimated in their importance to the human body. Kidney disease and kidney failure results in your body’s “filter” being turned off, and waste/unnecessary nutrients are introduced to your bloodstream. Without dialysis or treatment, this will ultimately lead to other diseases and will eventually be fatal. Knowing what your body needs and how it functions is crucial to everyday health. If you feel that you or a loved one might be at risk for kidney disease, give us a call for a consultation.