Learn more about our kidneys

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Maybe we often hear the word kidney, kidney pain, kidney stones and kidney failure. But sometimes the term kidney itself we often don’t remember, forget or don’t feel special at all because we are used to hearing it. Then, what is a kidney? Humans have a pair of kidneys located behind the abdomen or abdomen. The kidneys are located on the right and left of the spine, below the liver and spleen. At the top (superior) kidney is the adrenal gland (also called the suprarenal gland).

In a free sense from some sources say that the kidneys are a pair of urinary tract organs located in the upper retroperitoneal cavity. Its shape resembles a bean with the concave side facing medial (middle). Both kidneys are located around the T12 to L3 vertebra (in the 12th backbone and 3rd lumbar vertebrae). The right kidney is usually located just below the left kidney to make room for the liver. The right kidney is also usually smaller than the left kidney.

Kidney has a shape like a nut with a curve facing inward. In each kidney there is an opening called the hilum where the renal artery enters and the veins reliably and the ureters come out. We can see in the picture below:

The function of each part of the kidney can be seen in scientific references in the library, which is not possible and for general knowledge too heavy. But basically the kidneys function to filter, absorb substances that are still needed and remove substances that harm the body through urine or urine.

Our kidneys filter about 200 liters of blood every day. In addition to filtering blood, modifying vitamin D in the body, and regulating the body’s acid-base balance, the kidneys also have several other functions, namely:

  1. Filter and Dispose of
    Kidney Waste has an important role in removing toxins, excessive salt levels, and urea (nitrogen-containing waste results from protein metabolism). With the formation of urea, the blood will flow urea into our kidneys to be removed. Without these kidney organs, waste and toxins will accumulate in the blood and of course very dangerous for the body.
  2. Controlling Water Balance
    One of the functions of the kidneys is to control and monitor water balance in the body. Through this organ, all body tissues are certain to receive water in order to work properly. The kidneys will react to changes in water levels in the body. The kidneys will hold water, not throw it away when the body is dehydrated. Or conversely the kidneys will drain more water when the body has excess fluid.
  3. Regulate Red Blood Cells
    Oxygen is a very important element in our blood circulation. When the body does not get enough oxygen, the kidneys will release the hormone erythropoietin. The erythropoietin hormone functions to stimulate the production of more red blood cells which is useful for carrying oxygen. If red blood cells or oxygen levels are normal, the hormone will stop being produced by the kidneys. Furthermore, the body’s process will run normally.
  4. Regulates Blood Pressure and Salt Levels
    Regulating blood pressure and blood salt levels are also a function of the kidneys. Kidney will produce the enzyme renin as the process. When filtering blood, steady flow and blood pressure are needed by the kidneys. For this reason, when our blood pressure is rising, not only because of interference from our circulatory system, or our heart system, but it could be a problem in our kidneys.

Linkage with homeostasis

The kidneys take part in the body’s homeostasis by regulating acid-base balance (pH), mineral ion concentration, composition and vulme of extracellular fluid and blood pressure. The kidneys regulate the function of homeostasis alone or in collaboration with other organs, especially the endocrine system. Various kinds of endocrine hormones regulate endocrine functions such as renin, angiotensin II, aldosterone, antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin) and atrial natriuretic peptide. These terms certainly require deeper learning. Hopefully you are all moved to actively find out more deeply.

Various kidney diseases

If you do not maintain good health in parts of the kidneys optimally, you must be careful with the increasing risk of various diseases. It should be noted that kidney disease sometimes has no severe symptoms and even if symptoms appear, our kidney disease is already severe. Some symptoms that a person may experience if their kidneys are having problems include:

  • Hard to sleep
  • Anxious
  • Difficult to concentrate
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Change the frequency of urination
  • Pain when urinating
  • Bloody urine
  • Foamy urine
  • Swelling around the eyes and feet
  • Decreased appetite
  • Muscle cramp

As we get older, almost all organs of the body will experience decreased function. Including the condition of our kidneys. Thus, the ability of this organ to filter blood is not optimal. For this reason, the elderly generally experience one or more of the symptoms of kidney disease above.

Unlike the decline in kidney function caused by disease, this can lead to more serious health problems. If kidney function is reduced by 10 to 15 percent, this indicates that someone has kidney failure. As a result, patients need dialysis or even a kidney transplant so that the kidneys can continue to work optimally. In some cases, people deliberately donate one of their kidneys for money. Controversy but the fact, for this reason our kidneys and our bodies in general must always be well guarded.

Various problems with this organ filtering bodily fluids, which may occur include:

  • Acute kidney failure
    Kidney failure is a condition when the kidneys are no longer able to filter out residual substances from the blood. This can be caused by urinary tract stones, drugs, severe dehydration, or trauma / injury to the kidneys. Symptoms can include a decrease in the amount of urine, swelling in the legs, shortness of breath, chest pain, anxiety, convulsions, to coma. If not treated immediately, this can threaten the lives of sufferers.
  • Kidney stones are crystals or solids that form in the kidneys. You may more commonly know him as urinating. Although referred to as kidney stones, rocks that crystallize in fact not only lodged in the kidneys. Rocks can move along the urinary tract, be it in the ureter, bladder, or urethra. If kidney stones have moved to the urinary tract, the crystals can injure the walls of the urinary tract. This can cause blood spots in the urine. In this condition when urinating feels painful or even very painful.
  • Glomerulonephritis
    Glomerulonephritis is inflammation of the glomerulus or small blood vessels that filters the blood in our kidneys. Because the glomerulus is inflamed, the kidneys cannot filter blood normally and you can experience kidney failure. Similar to other kidney diseases, symptoms of glomerulonephritis can include bloody urine, high blood pressure, rarely urinating, abdominal pain, foamy urine, and swelling in the face, hands, feet, and stomach due to the accumulation of fluid in the body.
  • Acute nephritis Acute
    nephritis is inflammation (swelling) in the kidney nephron. This condition causes abnormal cells from the blood to enter the urine and causes inflammation. These cells are usually in the form of eosinophils or a type of white blood cell. Some cases of acute nephritis also require hemodialysis to help our kidney burden. When inflammation has caused nephritis, sufferers will experience fever, vomiting, hypertension, back pain, and urinary disorders (burning sensation, frequency changes, foamy urine, or bloody urine).
  • Urinary tract infections

tract infections occur when bacteria infect your urethra, from the kidneys to the urethra. Symptoms are fever, pain during urination, and increased frequency of urination. Usually the doctor will suggest drinking enough water and giving antibiotics to treat the infection.

  • Acidosis
    Acidosis is a condition when the body is filled with acidic blood. Normally, the body’s pH is not too acidic or not too alkaline, which is around 7.4. In acidic conditions our body tends to be susceptible to disease (see also the condition of the body that is susceptible to disease ), naturally we have an alkaline buffer that serves to maintain the pH of our body. Under conditions of acidosis, the body’s pH tends to be less than 7.35. This can be caused by the high levels of carbon dioxide in the body, diarrhea, a decrease in the amount of insulin, or because the kidneys fail to filter alkaline substances in the body.
  • Uremia
    Uremia is a buildup of urea in the blood that causes irritation to the nervous system in our kidneys and other body parts. At first, people with uremia do not feel any symptoms. However, over time the sufferer will experience leg cramps, loss of appetite, headaches, severe fatigue, vomiting, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Polycystic Kidney (PKD)
    If a family member has polycystic kidney disease, that means you are at risk of developing the same disease. Some sources say that this PKD is inherited or offspring have a greater risk for contracting the same disease. People with this condition tend not to feel any symptoms. New cyst symptoms will be felt if the cyst has begun to grow by three centimeters or larger. Symptoms include bloody urine, abdominal pressure, urinary tract infections, and so on.
  • Chronic kidney failure Chronic
    kidney failure is a decline in kidney function below the normal limit for more than 3 months. If you suffer from this disease, it means that your kidney function is no longer able to filter out impurities, control the amount of water in the body, also the levels of salt and calcium in the blood. This disease is generally caused by hypertension and diabetes that are not treated immediately or because it lasts a long time. Symptoms are marked by shortness of breath, vomiting, bone pain, swelling around the eyes and feet, fainting, numb hands and feet, and weight loss. A common action when you have kidney failure is dialysis.

Types of Kidney Examination

Checking the condition and function of the kidneys is one way to find out whether our kidney function is in good condition or not. Someone who has diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or a family history of kidney disease is highly advised to do an examination. Some common tests for our kidneys are as follows:

  1. Blood Test Blood
    tests are done to find out how optimal the parts of the kidneys in filtering the blood. Blood test is also called the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) or among the general public are familiar with the term nuclear examination. In this test, blood will be tested by looking at creatinine levels. The creatinine is a waste product produced by muscle tissue and excreted from the body through the process of excretion. When someone’s kidney is not functioning properly, then he will be difficult to remove creatinine from the blood. This condition if getting worse requires hemodialysis or dialysis. And with this GFR examination we can find out the extent of our kidney condition, and how necessary the hemodialysis action.
  2. Urine
    Test The urine test itself is done to measure the level of albumin (a type of protein) that dissolves along with urine. If the kidneys are in a healthy condition, then albumin will not enter the urine. Because, albumin should be in the blood, not the remaining substances that must be removed through urine. The easiest we see the color of our urine, the more concentrated is a sign there is a problem in our kidneys or indeed we ourselves drink less water. Adequacy of water is very important for our bodies. Especially if what we consume is good water, not just water. (also read: water that is good for our body )

NIDDK.nih.gov (accessed in 2019). Your Kidneys & How They Work

Purnomo, Basuki (2007). Urology basics. Corn seto. ISBN 979-9472-00-8.
“Signs of Kidney Pain”. Accessed December 3, 2014.
“Gamma Camera or Gamma Camera”. Accessed March 15, 2014.
“Advanced Tools”. Accessed March 15, 2014.

External links
Media related to the Kidney on Wikimedia Commons
(UK) Thyroid hormone stimulates the renal Na / H exchanger NHE3 by transcriptional activation
(UK) Drugs associated with RENAL IMPAIRMENT