Happy kidneys make for a healthy body
Small but mighty – our kidneys are essential to our health and well-being. Between 4 to 5 inches long, your kidney is about the size of a fist and yes – it looks like a kidney bean. Most people have two kidneys, but your body can function well with just one. Like the heart, lungs, and other organs in your body, kidneys have an important and unique job. They filter your blood, remove waste products, balance the water and salt levels in your body, and make urine. Ever feel like you have to pee? That’s your kidneys hard at work!
You might wonder why the kidneys are so important? Well, your body could get sick without hard-working kidneys that filter and remove wastes from your blood. “Not only do kidneys clean your blood and get rid of all the wastes and toxins,” said Sharon Su, MD, pediatric nephrologist at Randall Children’s Hospital. “They also balance the water levels in your body and keep your bones strong."
One example of when your kidneys stop properly filtering is a condition called Nephrotic Syndrome (NS). NS is a result of damage to the kidney’s filtering units (glomeruli). If left untreated, NS may cause swelling, high blood pressure, and poor growth.
“Keeping your kidneys happy is vital to avoiding issues like high blood pressure, kidney stones, and kidney failure,” said Dr. Su. “With 26 million American adults having kidney disease, it’s important that we help our kids learn how to keep their kidneys healthy at a young age.”
So, how can you keep your kidneys healthy? Easy - drink plenty of water (for most people that about 50-66 ounces daily), don’t smoke, and eat healthy, low-salt foods. Exercising is also good because it keeps your blood pressure and sugar levels under control. If you think something is wrong or you have a family history of kidney disease, follow up with your doctor and ask about checking your kidneys.
Learn more about Randall Children’s Nephrology Clinic.
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