Each individual normally has 2 kidneys. These bean-shaped organs are about 10 to 12 cm long and located in the lower back. Blood is transported to the kidneys by the renal arteries and is filtered there. The kidneys produce urine which will be carried to the bladder through the urinary tract.
The kidneys perform vital functions :
- Elimination of toxins : millions of small kidney filters, nephrons, collect toxins from the blood and eliminate them from the body through the production of urine. The blood cells, proteins and other useful elements are recovered and re-circulated in the blood. This is how the kidneys purify 180 to 200 litres of blood every day.
- Regulation of the water balance : the kidneys maintain proper water balance. In this way, they continuously ensure the smooth functioning of the body in cases of over- or under-perspiration, overhydration or dehydration and in heatwaves or cold weather.
- Hormone production for the production of red blood cells : the kidneys produce important hormones for blood pressure and the production of red blood cells. They play an important role in bone metabolism and the production of red blood cells.
Kidney diseases are common in patients with diabetes or hypertension. However, there may be other causative factors such as autoimmune diseases, cysts, some medicinal products and toxic products and accidents. In cases of kidney failure, kidney function is reduced to alarming levels. The symptoms are often very delayed, even at an advanced stage of the disease.
The signs of kidney failure are generally quite vague :
- Fatigue, insomnia
- Memory loss
- Nausea, loss of appetite
- Itching, dry skin,
- Swollen face and legs
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth and dry mucous membranes
- Sunken eyes
- Nocturia (getting up frequently at night to urinate)
- Bone decalcification and cramp.