Many people are surprised at how much the kidneys do and their importance to the body. Kidneys are primarily filters that remove unwanted toxins ( i.e. urea, nitrogen, etc.), excess electrolytes (i.e. sodium, potassium, phosphorus, etc.) and excess fluid from the body. In addition, your kidneys have additional functions to support your health. Your kidneys also:
- Make blood by producing the hormone erythropoietin, which stimulates stem cells in the bone marrow.
- Are the seat of blood pressure control along with the adrenal gland, which is located on top of the kidney.
- Maintain healthy bone and calcium metabolism by controlling the amount of calcium that is absorbed and eliminated from the body.
- Act as a buffer for excess acid in the body that comes from diet and help neutralize the blood.
That is why when kidneys are not functioning properly, unwanted substances, electrolytes and fluid start accumulating. As a result, a person can feel tired from excess toxins in the blood and low blood count. The patient’s blood pressure may be too high and very difficult to control with simple medications. The person may also feel swollen.
With a careful regimen of medications, diet changes and regular follow-up with a nephrologist, it may be possible to improve kidney function and maintain proper bone and blood health.