Kidney disease occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to filter blood the way they should, remove waste effectively from your body or balance your fluids. The build-up of wastes can change the chemistry of your body causing some symptoms that you can feel, and others that you don't. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is called ‘chronic’ when the damage to your kidneys happens slowly over a long period of time.
Understanding your kidneys is the first step to taking control of your health when you have chronic kidney disease (CKD). The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about five-inches long, three-inches wide and one-inch thick located in your back on each side of your spine. Each kidney is about the size of a fist and weighs from 115 to 170 grams. They are situated above your waist, with the left kidney a little higher and a little larger. The right kidney is a little lower and smaller to make room for the liver. The lower ribs protect your kidneys.
Inside each kidney is approximately 1 million tiny filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron has a glomerulus and tubules. The glomerulus is a series of specialized capillary loops where water and small particles are filtered from the blood. The waste and extra fluids then travel through the tube-like structure of the tubules where several processes take place to turn those fluids into urine. The tubules lead to the collecting duct where the urine is drained into a funnel-shaped sac called the renal pelvis.
Each kidney has a ureter that connects the renal pelvis to the bladder. The urine from the kidneys flows down the ureters into the bladder and is then passed out of the body through the urethra. Two healthy kidneys are more than enough to filter waste from your blood and make urine.
The basic function of kidneys begins when you eat and drink. After the body takes the nutrients it needs, the extras become wastes. Some of the waste winds up in the blood and needs to be filtered out. The blood gets circulated through the body with every beat of the heart. It’s the job of the kidneys — with their millions of nephrons — to filter and clean out the blood and remove the extra fluids. The extra fluid and waste becomes urine and travels from the kidneys down the ureters to the bladder until eliminated through the urethra.
Most people think their kidneys are just responsible for producing urine, but there’s a lot more to it. In addition to removing extra fluid and water from your body, kidneys:
The kidneys monitor the levels of chemicals, salts and acids in the blood. Inside the nephrons are sensors that keep track of sodium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. When levels are high, the kidneys signal to remove the excess from your blood for elimination.
If your kidneys are not functioning properly, they may have trouble:
Knowing the symptoms of kidney disease can help people detect it early enough to get treatment.
If you have signs of kidney disease, you should ask for a referral to a nephrologist, a specialist in treating kidney disease. A nephrologist will perform an evaluation then suggest medications or lifestyle changes to help slow the progression of kidney disease. To contact a nephrologist at DaVita you may call us at 9740426060 or fill the form below :