Saturday, August 1, 2009

How Our Kidneys Work

We've gone through the basics of our kidney, along with the important functions it performs. As we mentioned, the kidneys are two bean shaped structures in charge of filtering waste products out of our bodies. It does this after our digestive systems have absorbed the nutrients from the food we eat.

Here's how.

The process of filtration begins when we eat food or drink any beverage. The body then absorbs the nutrients it needs from the food and the rest becomes waste products. Some of this waste wind up in our blood, and need to be filtered out otherwise after a while our blood will be full of toxins and we will get sick.

What happens next is something similar to the how machines use oil. A machine is filled with oil that is clean. After some time of operating, the oil in the machine carries a lot of dirt and waste products, thus turning from the once golden color to a dark color. When this happens, the oil can then be filtered and recycled in order to be re-used again.

With respect to the kidney, things start with the blood with that needs to be filtered. The blood travels from the heart through the renal artery into the kidneys where there are millions of filtering units called nephrons that clean the blood and remove the extra fluids. Each nephron is comprised of a glomerulus and tubules. It is in the glomerulus where water and small particles in the blood are filtered to make urine.

The waste and extra fluids then travel through tube-like structure of the tubules where several processes take place to turn those fluids into urine.

After the kidney is done with its filtering process, the extra fluids and wastes are then funneled through large tubes called ureters. Each kidney is connected to a ureter which delivers the extra waste and fluids from the kidney to the bladder where they are converted into urine. As the bladder gets filled, we feel the urge to urinate and when this occurs, urine is eliminated in the urethra and out our bodies.

Finally, the blood that has been cleaned exits the kidney through the renal vein and is circulated back to the heart. This process continuously goes on and one as long as we live.

Though their main function is to keep toxins and excess fluids from accumulating in our bodies, it is very important to remember that the kidney also fulfills many other duties that keep us feeling well.

This includes keeping our blood pressure in check and monitoring chemicals in our blood like salts and acid to keep a good balance within our systems. Then we have the production of erythropoietin, along with the bone building calcitriol hormones.


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