Where are my kidneys?


What do the kidneys do?

  • remove toxic waste products
  • remove excess water and salts
  • play a part in controlling your blood pressure
  • produce erythropoietin (epo for short) which stimulates red cell production from the bone marrow - you get anaemic without this
  • help to keep calcium and phosphate in balance for healthy bones
  • maintain the blood in a neutral (non-acid) state

Signs that the kidneys are not working properly.

  • Urine tests may show blood or protein that should not normally be there
  • Blood pressure may be high - more likely VERY high or widely fluctuant.
  • Trouble passing urine is rarely caused by kidney trouble - usually from an enlarged prostate in men, or prolapsed uterus in women.
  • Pain around the kidneys is an uncommon symptom in kidney disease except with kidney stones or infection

Other symptoms come from loss of kidney function.

In the early stages of many kidney diseases, there are no symptoms at all. Kidney function needs to be quite badly damaged before any symptoms become noticeable. At first these are usually very vague and non-specific, and easily confused with many other conditions. A general slowing down and tiredness are common. Later symptoms may include loss of appetite, itch, poor sleep habits, changes in mental acuity, and many others.

This is a wonderful link from Wales, in the U.K. VERY visual !