The kidney is one of the most essential organs in the human body, and it’s vital for kidney function to be healthy and strong. Healthy kidney function helps filter blood, maintain water balance, produce hormones, control red blood cell production and regulate blood pressure. All of these are essential for optimal health and avoiding chronic kidney disease.
There are many risk factors for why kidney functions may decline or stop working altogether, leading to chronic kidney disease. These reasons include:
- High blood pressure
- Excessive alcohol consumption (3 drinks a day)
- Family history of renal failure
- Injury from surgery or trauma.
- An inherited form can also cause kidney failure if there are two copies of a particular gene variant called autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).
If kidney function declines, patients may notice various symptoms, including fatigue, itching in the skin, swelling (edema), especially in the feet or ankles, increased thirst, and frequent urination.
Functions of the Kidney
Kidneys Remove Waste Products From the Body
There are many kidney functions that support kidney health, such as removing waste products from the body. The kidney filters large amounts of fluid and wastes in the body by creating urine through a process called filtration. Waste products will then be eliminated from the body through urination.
Kidneys Regulate Hormones
The kidney produces renin, which helps control blood pressure by releasing a hormone called angiotensin II that triggers physiological responses involved with blood pressure regulation. It also makes erythropoietin (EPO), which increases red blood cell production and sometimes growth factors to heal kidney damage such as kidney fibrosis.
Kidneys Control the Production of Red Blood Cells
Another kidney function is erythropoietin (EPO) production, which increases red blood cell production and sometimes growth factors to heal kidney damage such as kidney fibrosis. This process involves some kidney functions like blood filtration, tubules, secretion, hormones, and electrolyte balance.
Kidneys Produce Vitamin D
One kidney function is producing vitamin D. The kidney has an important role in making vitamin D useful to the body. The kidney converts vitamin D from supplements or the sun to the active form of vitamin D that is needed by the body. Active vitamin D helps to increase the amount of calcium that your body can absorb from food that you eat. It also helps to prevent your kidneys from getting rid of too much calcium.
Kidneys Balance the Body’s Fluids
The kidney also removes excess water from the body. Too much water in the body is called edema and this affects kidney function as well since it prevents kidney blood flow so that kidney functions cannot work properly. The kidneys need a certain amount of fluid to be present in our bodies for kidney functions to keep working.
Contact Summit Medical Clinic
Kidney function is vital for overall health. We can all take steps to protect kidney function with healthy lifestyle choices. Summit Medical Clinic specializes in nephrology, so if you’re experiencing kidney symptoms or signs of chronic kidney disease, please contact us today! We are committed to helping patients live healthier lives by taking control of their kidney care and beyond.