Because it’s World Kidney Day, we wanted to remind you about this vital organ and why maintaining its peak performance is so important to your overall health.
We don’t often think much about our kidneys until there is an issue. But your kidneys play an important role in dealing with the body’s waste and producing body-regulating hormones.
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. Every day, your kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to sift out about 2 quarts of waste products and extra water. The waste and extra water become urine, which flows to your bladder through tubes called ureters. Your bladder stores urine until you go to the bathroom.This process is necessary to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals.
The kidneys are critical to the regulation of the body's salt, potassium and acid content and they also produce hormones that stimulate red blood cell production, help regulate blood pressure and control calcium in your metabolism.
Keep your kidneys in tip-top shape with some extra support that helps regulate proper functioning. If your kidneys are not functioning correctly, you can experience kidney stones. A kidney stone is a solid lump (from as small as a grain of sand to as large as the size a golf ball) made up of crystals that separate from urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney.
Kidney stones form when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid — than the fluid in your urine can dilute. At the same time, your urine may lack substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for kidney stones to form.
A larger kidney stone might get stuck in one of the relatively long and small diameter ureters, in the bladder, or in the urethra causing extreme pain in your back or side that will not go away. Sometimes the stuck stone can even stop the flow of urine which, also, causes intense pain.
All good reasons to be kind to your kidneys.