22 Important Facts of the Kidney You Probably Didn’t Know About

It is an everyday knowledge to know that the kidneys are very important to one’s health. In fact, the kidney is considered as a very vital and fundamental organ in the body alongside organs like the heart, lungs and liver.

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The kidney is a bean shaped organ that is located at the back on either side of your spine just below the ribs and behind your stomach. The job of the kidneys is to filter the blood that comes into it. They fundamentally remove waste products from the blood and likewise help maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.

These are things you knew about the kidney, wouldn’t you say? But let’s see some amazing facts about the kidneys that you didn’t know.

  1. The amount of blood that enters into the kidney is higher than that which enters the brain, heart and liver. Why, you may be wondering? This is simply due to the rate of filtration that occurs in the kidney. They absorb and filter the blood and then redistribute the filtered blood to the entire body. According to a research found on kidney.org, almost about 25% of the entire blood that is coming from the heart goes to the kidney alone. Amazing, isn’t it?
  2. The kidneys measure up to about 4.5 to 5.0 inches in length. Quite small but yet so powerful an organ don’t you think?
  3. In an average adult, the kidney forms only about 0.5%-0.7% of the entire body weight.
  4. Each one of the human kidney contains more than 1 million nephron which are responsible for the filtration of blood in the kidney. Can you imagine the rate at which blood is filtered per minute?
  5. In an hour, the kidney receives about 120 pints of blood and this blood is redistributed back into the body after filtration.
  6. The kidney pumps about 400 gallons of blood each and every day. Wow, don’t you think?
  7. You can survive with only half of your kidney because just half your kidney can do the work both kidneys can do comfortably.
  8. Your right kidney is usually smaller and slightly lower than that of the left kidney and this is due to the fact that the right lobe of the liver is very big, and it sits directly on top the right kidney therefore slightly decreasing the level at which the right kidney is compared to that of the left kidney.
  9. If an infant is born without a kidney, the other kidney will grow to about the size of the two kidneys put together and also function like the both kidneys.
  10. Once an individual reaches an average age of 40years, the rate at which the nephron function (i.e. filters blood) begins to decline.
  11. In a case when an individual is in an environment that is too hot and there is lack of adequate hydration to the body, the kidney produces very little urine and reabsorb a lot of water back into the body so as to help maintain the fluid level in the body.
  12. The kidneys serves as a feedback response for either an increased or a decreased blood volume in the body. This is how it works. Remember, we said the kidney receives almost about 25% of the total blood coming from the heart.

In a case where there is a decrease, there will be a decreased blood flow to the kidneys through the renal artery and then there will be a signal sent to the blood vessels through the juxtaglomerular cells that the vessels are not pumping enough blood and then these cells will produce an enzyme known as Renin which converts Angiotensinogen which is a peptide into Angiotesin I.

Angiotesin I is then converted to angiotesin II by an enzyme produced by the lungs known as Angiotensin converting enzyme (A.C.E). Angiotesin II causes the blood vessels to contract thereby increasing the blood flow from the blood vessels and then thereby reverting it back to the normal rate.

  1. Once there is a reduction in the oxygen content in the blood, the kidneys are also alerted as well. Once the kidneys notice the drop in the oxygen levels in the blood, they respond by the production of a hormone known as Erythropoietin (EPO).

This hormone triggers the production of Red blood cells (which are the cells responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood) and then this will thereby increase the oxygen content in the blood.

  1. The kidneys are connected to the bladder via two-tube like organs known as the Ureters. The kidney produces urine and passes the urine through the Ureter to the bladder where urine is kept and stored before expulsion out of the body.
  2. Kidney stones is caused by the lack of adequate intake of water into the body system.
  3. High blood pressure can cause kidney diseases and can eventually lead to kidney failures.
  4. Kidney diseases are non-reversible, but the progression can only be slowed down by dialysis. The only treatment for kidney failure is a kidney transplant. Kidney transplantation is needed when diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure etc have caused an irreversible disfunction of the kidneys and the total functionality rate of both kidneys have been reduced to less than 10%.
  5. People suffering from kidney failure will need dialysis at least three times a week or more depending on the severity of the disease.
  6. Kidney failure causes a build-up of waste products and also excess fluid in the blood stream due to lack of production or a reduced production of urine by the kidney. This is usually the first symptom of kidney failure. And it thereby leads to weakness, swelling in the extremities, confusion, and abnormalities in the heart rhythm.
  7. More than 1.5 million people globally suffer from chronic kidney failures and they have to undergo dialysis and kidney transplants every year.
  8. The very first kidney transplant took place in the year 1933. It was conducted by a Russian surgeon named Dr Yuri Voronoy and it was regarded as a failed attempt.
  9. Kidney stones can be caused by the excess ingestion of milk and antacids. Also, the excess intake of refined sugar and carbohydrates can cause kidney stones in the body.
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