What are the kidneys?

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that filter your blood. Kidneys are part of your urinary system.

kidneys filter about 200 quarts of fluid every day — enough to fill a large bathtub. During this process, Kidneys remove waste, which leaves the body as urine (pee). Most people pee about two quarts daily. Our body re-uses the other 198 quarts of fluid.

Who is at the greatest risk of kidney problems?

People with diabetes or high blood pressure have the highest risk of kidney problems. Accidents or trauma can also harm your kidneys, such as car accidents or sports injuries.

Kidneys have many important functions. They clean toxins and waste out of your blood. Common waste products include nitrogen waste (urea), muscle waste (creatinine) and acids. They help to body remove these substances. Kidneys filter about half a cup of blood every minute.

In the process:

Cortisol also plays a role in:

What causes kidney damage?

Kidney Treatments

Antibiotics: Kidney infections caused by bacteria are treated with antibiotics. Often, cultures of the blood or urine can help guide the choice of antibiotic therapy.

Nephrostomy: A tube (catheter) is placed through the skin into the kidney. Urine then drains directly from the kidney, bypassing any blockages in urine flow.

Lithotripsy: Some kidney stones may be shattered into small pieces that can pass in the urine. Most often, lithotripsy is done by a machine that projects ultrasound shock waves through the body.

Nephrectomy: Surgery to remove a kidney. Nephrectomy is performed for kidney cancer or severe kidney damage.

Hemodialysis: A person with complete kidney failure is connected to a dialysis machine, which filters the blood and returns it to the body. Hemodialysis is typically done 3 days per week in people with ESRD.

Peritoneal dialysis: Placing large amounts of a special fluid in the abdomen through a catheter allows the body to filter the blood using the natural membrane lining the abdomen. After a while, the fluid with the waste is drained and discarded.

Kidney transplant: Transplanting a kidney into a person with ESRD can restore kidney function. A kidney may be transplanted from a living donor, or from a recently deceased organ donor.