The kidneys

The kidneys’ vital job is to uphold the body’s fluid balance and chemical environment through filtering the body’s blood. In addition, they produce several hormones. Read more on kidneys and their functions.

The kidneys – more than an excretory organ

The kidneys – more than an excretory organ

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs. They are located near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. The kidney contains approximately one million nephrons. The nephrons filtrate blood, reabsorb and secrete substances to generate urine.

What happens when the kidneys do not work?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the final common pathway in many different diseases that affect the kidney. Visible health problems (see stages of CKD) occur when the kidney function declines to less than 25 percent of that of a healthy person. If it drops below 10 to 15 percent (kidney failure), a person cannot, in the long-term, live without some form of a renal replacement therapy (RTT) such as dialysis or transplantation. However, early detection can help to postpone dialysis or transplantation (see conservative treatment option).

Kidney function

The main purposes of the kidney can be defined by following five pillars (see figure below, hover over the elements).

URINE PRODUCTION

Excretion of waste and urine production

MANAGEMENT OF ELECTROLYTES

Balance of the body’s electrolytes (i.e., sodium, calcium, phosphate, potassium, hydrogen ions)

OSMOLARITY AND BLOOD PRESSURE REGUALTION

Regulation of water (osmolarity) balance
Regulation of systemic blood pressure

ACID-BASE HOMEOSTASIS

Together with the lungs, the kidneys maintain acid-base homeostasis

HORMONE SECRETION

Hormone secretion for blood pressure regulation, bone metabolism and synthesis of blood cells

CKD – chronic kidney disease teaser

CKD – chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can have different causes, for example diabetes or hypertension. In the early stages, patients usually do not experience any symptoms.

Read more
CKD treatment option teaser

Treatment options

Treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) varies according to the severity. However, steps can be taken in all cases to: control hypertension, correct salt and water imbalance, treat urinary tract infections, and reduce risk of heart and blood vessel diseases. Most people with CKD will be able to slow down progression through regular check-ups and medication intake.

Read more
nutritional management teaser

Nutritional management

When you suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD), nutritional management is an essential part of your treatment plan. Depending on the severity of your disease, your recommended diet may change over time. In predialysis, a low protein diet is a key pillar of a CKD therapy. Read more about what food intake should look like in CKD.

Read more