Organs of Elimination
Where in the body are your kidneys?
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located on either side of your spine at the lowest level of your rib cage. The kidneys are relatively small organs, but they work hard. Each kidney is about the size of a fist and weighs between four to six ounces. The kidneys rest above a person’s waist. The left kidney is slightly higher and a little larger than the right kidney, which is located next to the liver. Both kidneys are protected by a part of the rib cage.
What do the kidneys do?
If your organs had professions, your kidneys would be chemists. Kidneys clean and balance your entire body’s blood supply. Approximately 200 quarts of blood are processed through your kidneys every 24 hours.
The kidney’s primary function is cleaning the blood by removing waste products and excess fluid from the body through urine production. They work non-stop to maintain the chemical balance of your body by cleaning your blood, producing hormones and enzymes and managing fluid levels.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of chronic kidney disease.
1. Regulate blood pressure by producing the enzyme rennin.
2. Control the body’s mineral and acidity levels.
3. Keep bones strong and healthy by producing calcitriol, an active form of vitamin D.
4. Stimulate the production of red blood cells by producing the hormone erythropoietin.
How do kidneys work?
The body extracts nutrients from food and beverages, and uses them to keep the body functioning properly. What the body cannot use is left behind as waste products which are eliminated either through bowel movements or filtered out by the kidneys. Blood urea nitrogen also called in abbreviated form; BUN, for example, is a waste product left over from protein metabolism.
How you can help your kidneys.
Become proactive and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
¨ Keep scheduled doctor’s appointments. At least an annual physical with a primary care physician is the first step toward keeping your health in good focus.
¨ If you have diabetes or hypertension, or any health condition reported to affect your kidneys,
• Take the prescribed medicine correctly.
• ¨ See your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication or supplement.
• ¨ Maintain a healthy weight. Eat right. Exercise regularly. Incorporate stress management into your health habits. Keep up with authentic spirituality.
• ¨ Check your blood pressure and do what it takes to keep it in the normal range.
• ¨ If you have diabetes, manage your blood sugar well. Keep it as normal as possible.
• ¨ Exercise can lower high blood pressure, which helps your heart and kidneys.
• ¨ Do not smoke.
• ¨ Limit or avoid drinking alcohol excessively.
Problems affecting the kidneys can be seen in a variety of diseases. Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys can no longer work to do the normal functions mentioned before.Some of the conditions mentioned can also happen at any age.
• These are the most common causes of kidney failure:
• ¨ Diabetes
• ¨ High blood pressure
• ¨ Glomerular kidney diseases
• ¨ Polycystic kidney disease (and other genetic diseases)
• ¨ Kidney-related birth defects
• ¨ Autoimmune kidney diseases
Foods that may be helpful to good kidney health are also suggested for benefiting overall health. Some individuals may however have allergy to some of these foods and should always seek the advice of a medical professional with training and experience in caring for patients with kidney disorders.
1. Red bell peppers
12. Red grapes
13. Egg whites
15. Olive oil
Dr. Dorette Lewis-Senior, ND.MSAc.BS-RN.