by Dr. Valli | Apr 21, 2020, | How amazing are the Kidneys..!
Human body is a cluster of wonderful organ systems. One of the complex yet amazing organ systems among these organs is the Kidneys. They are the flag bearers of the Blood purification system.
Humans are blessed with two kidneys. Even though kidneys do weigh less than 0.5 % of the total body weight, they utilise around 25 % of the blood pumped by the Heart. The functional unit of the kidney is the “Nephron”. Each kidney contains around one Million Nephrons. These nephrons are similar to the Chip of a computer. Therefore, both kidneys contain around two million such nephrons, which carry out the task of blood purification. If the nephrons in both the kidneys are retrieved and arranged hypothetically end to end, they stretch to a distance of around sixteen kilometres!
Kidneys are the mighty organs which filter the blood wholly for four hundred times in a day. Every organ system is important but kidneys are crafted by Nature to be much more vital. If filtration by kidneys cannot happen in a precise and flawless way, then no other organ system can function smoothly as purified blood is an elixir for the proper functioning of all organ systems.
Kidneys are designed not only to filter the blood but are entrusted with other diverse biological functions. One of such functions is the production of Erythropoietin, an essential substance which acts like a trigger in the production of Red Blood Cells from the bone marrow. Another important function of Kidney is the generation of Vitamin-D. Therefore, some patients of kidney failure are prone for bone problems due to the blunting of this Vitamin-D production. In addition they fine tune the amount of acids in the blood. They function
Further, kidneys play a pivotal role in regulating Blood Pressure. Kidneys secrete ‘Renin’ which in turn tightly regulates Blood Pressure. Kidneys are virtually the Command Centre for blood pressure regulation.
But, even such spectacularly designed kidneys are prone for various malfunctions. The most common reasons for kidney failure are long standing and Uncontrolled Diabetes, long duration High Blood Pressure, PainkIllers and environmental toxins such as Fluorosis.
Like any other health issue, Prevention is the ultimate cure for Kidney failure. Such preventive strategies include tight control of Blood Sugar in diabetics, optimum control of high Blood Pressure and avoidance of the indiscriminate use of painkillers. Always remember that Kidney diseases are very preventable if the efforts for positive health such as regular exercise, limiting calorie dense diet along with regular monitoring of Blood Sugar and Blood pressure are enforced by all of us.
Dr P S Vali,
MD (Gen Med) DM (Nephro)