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232/365 – Kidneys

Kidneys are vital organs, performing some of the most important functions in our body. They are sophisticated processing machines that keep our blood clean and chemically balanced.   It goes without saying that the more you know about your body and your health, the more control you have over your life.

As a Nephrologist, specializing in Chronic Kidney Disease and Hypertension, I decided to share some interesting information with my readers, pertaining to Kidney disease and Kidney health. I hope you will find the facts outlined below interesting and useful.

Our Kidneys have a higher blood flow than our brain, liver or heart.

The Kidneys absorb and distribute 99.9% of the blood volume. Only 0.1% of the blood filtered turns into urine.

Each Kidney is about 5 inches long (13 centimeters) and weighs approximately 4 to 6 ounces (120-140 grams).

The Kidneys filter almost 200 quarts of blood every day.

1 in 9 adults in America, or at least 26 million Americans, have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and millions more are at increased risk. According to The American Society of Nephrology, the number of people diagnosed with Kidney disease has doubled for the last decade. I would strongly recommend blood and urine tests to detect early signs of the disorder.

Risk factors for CKD include: diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, advanced age, family history of CKD, and tobacco use.

Each kidney has about a million tiny nephrons. A nephron is the basic functional unit of the kidney. It has a group of tiny blood vessels called a glomerulus, the small structure responsible for filtering and cleaning blood as it flows through the kidney. Most kidney diseases attack the nephrons, causing them to lose filtering capacity. Interestingly, Kidney diseases destroy the nephrons slowly and silently. The damage will become apparent only years or even decades later.

The most frequent causes of Kidney disease are Diabetes and High blood pressure. Other causes include, Glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the glomerulus) and Polycystic Kidney Disease (an inherited disease, causing large cysts to form in the kidney). What most people don’t realize is that taking over-the-counter pain-relieving medicines, can also result in Kidney disorder. Please keep in mind that these medicines can be toxic to your Kidneys and may even provoke some serious damage.

Heart disease is very common among people with Chronic Kidney Disease. CKD patients are more likely than the general population to develop heart condition. That’s why following all the necessary steps to prevent heart problems is absolutely crucial. What they should do is eat healthy foods, exercise on a regular basis and kick a smoking habit (in case they smoke). CKD patients should cut down on foods that contain saturated fat, such as eggs, milk, cheese and fried foods. Healthy foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids should become a part of their dietary regime. I cannot stress enough the importance of salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, walnuts or flaxseed oil in your diet.

Dialysis and Kidney Transplantation can extend the lives of people with Kidney failure. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent Kidney disease. Kidney-related disorders usually occur gradually over time. That’s why it is always better to identify potential disorder early on. Time is of the essence – early detection can slow the progression of CDK and protect your health.

Only one donated Kidney is needed to replace two failed Kidneys. The life expectancy of someone who donates a kidney is the same as the general population. There is no increased risk of kidney disease if a well-screened person donates a kidney to someone who is in need of a transplant.

Source: http://www.longislandpress.com/2010/02/16/interesting-facts-about-our-kidneys/

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Categories: General Knowledge, Science
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