What do the kidneys do?

The kidneys perform several functions:

maintaining the salt and water balance by regulating the plasma concentration of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chlorine, calcium, magnesium and phosphates) and eliminating excess fluid through the urine

regulating the acid-base equilibrium (blood pH control) through the reabsorption of bicarbonates and the excretion of hydrogen ions

eliminating the terminal products of metabolism (urea, uric acid, creatinine etc.) and foreign substances (pharmaceutical drugs)

producing hormones, including erythropoietin, which stimulates the formation of red blood cells, and renin, which regulates blood pressure

regulating calcium metabolism, which is crucial for our bones, by activating vitamin D.

What are the kidneys and where are they?

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located in the abdominal cavity, just below the diaphragm, one on each side of the spine.

Most people have two kidneys; however, it is possible to lead a normal life with only one kidney, which can compensate the functioning of the missing one.


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