Your kidney takes the form of a bean shape and performs many critical roles in the body. It’s located in your lower back just beneath your ribs and is surrounded by other vital organs. Although relatively small, they play an essential filtering function that enables you to stay healthy and active. They form a significant part of your renal system, making it vital to prioritize their health to ensure your well-being. Due to their importance, many people make an effort to keep these vital organs in good condition. While some opt for a strict diet, others prefer kidney and urinary tract herbs to optimize their renal function. As the issue of chronic kidney diseases becomes more common with statistics of 697.5 million cases worldwide, here are some reasons why you need to take good care of these organs to ensure your well-being.
- Lowers blood pressure
Healthy kidneys release the aldosterone hormone, which regulates blood pressure within the body. However, when these organs don’t function properly, your body’s ability to produce this hormone is restricted. It either doesn’t produce it at all, or the daily production amount reduces significantly. This is why damaged kidneys or renal disorders are a significant cause of blood pressure issues, leading to hypertension.
On the other hand, if a person has a history of high blood pressure, its risks of developing into kidney failure also significantly increase. Therefore, as the arteries get narrower and have more blockages, the kidneys can’t properly filter the blood of waste and other impurities, meaning your body will retain more toxins that are detrimental to optimum health and could be life-threatening.
As such, it’s vital to keep your kidneys in good condition to effectively regulate your blood pressure levels to enable your body to function normally.
- Reduces bad cholesterol levels
High cholesterol is the increased level of fatty deposits in the arteries, contributing to narrow and restricted blood flow. If the kidneys are functioning correctly, they will filter your blood and get rid of excess fatty deposits. There are two types of cholesterol, namely HDL (known as the good cholesterol) and LDL (the bad cholesterol), which usually causes various health problems.
LDL is mainly associated with cholesterol problems. They get deposited within blood vessels because they block kidney function and increase the risk of developing health issues when they get clogged within the arteries. This explains why medical professionals recommend that people strive for higher HDLs and take steps to reduce LDL.
- Controls anemia
Anemia results from low blood iron levels and is related to kidney function due to the erythropoietin hormone. This hormone is responsible for red blood cell production within the bone marrow, and without it, the human body won’t be able to produce red blood cells.
In medical journals, the kidneys are known as the ‘critmeter’ because they ‘measure’ and ‘police’ the volume of erythropoietin produced whenever triggered. Additionally, the kidneys regulate hematocrit (which is the ratio of red blood cell volume to total blood volume), explaining why people with kidney and urinary tract disorders almost always have complicated anemia.
- Protects the bones
The kidneys are responsible for producing a very active form of Vitamin D known as calcitriol. As calcitriol is a hormone, it binds and stimulates the central Vitamin D receptor in the body. As the kidneys regulate calcium levels with calcitriol, they boost proper bone formation in the body.
Therefore, when people suffer bone fractures, the kidney is triggered to release this hormone to facilitate healing. More than 85% of the mineral content in human bones consists of phosphorus and calcium; therefore, to balance these minerals in the body, the kidneys regulate blood phosphorus levels to keep the bones strong.
- Regulates electrolyte concentration
Even though salt is necessary for vital bodily functions, it’s harmful when taken in excess, so medical experts advise against its high consumption. Most importantly, the kidneys bear the brunt of it all. Healthy kidneys regulate salt concentration (electrolyte) in the blood and, by extension, the body.
First of all, depending on the salt concentration within your blood, your healthy kidneys will act immediately to determine whether to release or conserve water to maintain a healthy salt balance in the body. Sodium, potassium, and urea are all salt-based and can be detrimental to the body when they reach unhealthy levels. For example, many cases of fluid retention within the body almost always have bearings on high salt levels within the tissues. Therefore, striving for electrolyte balance is the first step to helping your kidney perform well and to remain healthy at all times.
- Controls fluid levels in the body
The more water you consume, the more urine you pass, indicating that your kidneys are functioning correctly. The human body requires ample hydration to aid its function. However, at every point in time, the water content in the body must remain at balanced levels to help mineral ions maintain their healthy volumes. When your kidneys are functioning as they should, they help keep this in check. However, for persons suffering from kidney failure, their organs can’t get rid of excess fluids, explaining why edema is a notable sign and symptom of kidney failure or renal disorders.
- Maintain the body’s balance of acids and bases
Did you know that your kidneys help the lungs to expel acids and bases contained within the body? The kidneys maintain this healthy balance is also by excreting hydrogen ions, usually through the urine. As they carry out this balancing act, these bean-shaped organs reabsorb bicarbonate contained in urine, which is a necessary activity for your survival.
Your blood needs a normal pH so all other organs can function adequately. Additionally, it contains several carbonic acids; for example, the blood that runs through the arteries must always have a pH balance ranging from 7.35 to 7.45. This pH range is necessary because artery activity tends to produce more acids. Therefore, with kidneys in tiptop shape, these two organs play the pH regulating and feedback roles.
- Removes drugs or medicines from your body
The kidneys also play a crucial role in helping the body process medicines you take in due to illness and helps regulate side effects by eliminating them from your system. Although some medical journals indicate that the liver plays a role in releasing bile to expel drugs, the kidneys are also notable for this function. They do this in three different processes named below:
- Glomerular filtration
- Tubular secretion
- Passive reabsorption
It’s easier for these processes to take place when the medicines ingested are water-soluble. Moreover, because the kidneys expel most drugs, it’s easier for physicians to prescribe normal doses. However, in a case where the kidneys are problematic, a physician will have to alter the quantities not to overburden the twin organs.
Taking care of your kidneys requires discipline and effort and starts with the little things. For example, your diet plays a crucial role in keeping your kidneys in good condition. Additionally, it helps to stay hydrated and reduce the intake of products that may be harmful to your health when taken in excesses, such as salt and alcohol. Regular check-ups are also a great way to ensure that your kidneys are always in good condition.
Indeed, big things sometimes come in small packages. The kidneys, though small, play one of the most significant functions in the body. Truthfully, without them, the body would be severely impaired in its waste excretion and blood filtration functions.