What are kidneys? Where are they located?
Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs. In adult humans, its size is about 11 centimetres (4.3 in) in length. They are located in the left and right in the retroperitoneal space.
What does the kidney do?
Kidney performs the following functions:
- Formation of urine
- Hormone secretion
- Blood pressure regulation
- Acid-base balance
- Regulation of osmolarity
- Measuring function
Why do people have one kidney?
The main reasons why people have one kidney are:
- When maybe a person born with one kidney (renal agenesis)
- When a person may have had one kidney removed during an operation to treat an injury or a disease like cancer.
- When a person may be born with both kidneys, but one is in good working condition (kidney dysplasia)
- When a person may have donated one kidney to a person needed a kidney.
Living with one kidney:
One kidney is capable of performing the normal functions and filters enough blood of two kidneys, but extra care is needed to prevent the kidney from kidney (renal) diseases. A person having one kidney can survive and live a healthy life.
One kidney is enough for your normal body function. This is why you can survive and be healthy with only one kidney.
Kidney care tips:
To live a healthy and lead a normal life with one kidney you have to follow these tips:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Maintain normal blood pressure
- Maintain normal blood sugar level
- Protecting it from injury
- Regular checkups
Problems associated with one kidney:
When your kidney loses or slows down any function the second kidney compensate it, but if you have one kidney and it stops working, you may develop following conditions:
- Retain fluid
- Develop high blood pressure
- Lose protein in your urine
People having one kidney may lead a healthy life without any problems mentioned above.
Is there any restricted diet one should follow?
A person having two kidneys or having a single one has to maintain their healthy diet. But a person with a single kidney due to any transplant or injury may need to limit sodium, phosphorus and protein in their diet because your single kidney cant removes it from your blood very well.
What should you avoid when you have a single kidney?
It is good to take precautions while you have a single kidney because the other kidney is not available to compensate if you suffer any disease.
If your single kidney is damaged or stops working the only solution is transplant or dialysis.
To avoid above-mentioned problems it’s good to protect your kidney to any damage by avoiding these things:
- Rock climbing
- Motorcycle riding
- Martial arts
- Motorsports like racing
By avoiding sports or high-risk activities you may protect your kidney from any damage.
When do you need dialysis?
Dialysis means filtering your blood and removing waste and extra fluid. You don’t need dialysis when you have two kidneys; it’s only done when your kidney fails.
It’s done when your kidney permanently or temporarily loses functioning. Dialysis should be started when your kidneys have lost 85 to 90% of their function.
When to see a doctor?
You should see your doctor once a year to check your single kidney condition, whether it’s working properly or has any complications.
Which tests your doctor needs to evaluate your single kidney?
- Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
- Urine test
Before you leave!
A person with a single kidney can lead a healthy and normal life. You may have a single kidney for any reason like renal agenesis, kidney dysplasia or nephrectomy. You can easily protect your kidney by eating healthy diets, staying hydrated and seeing your doctor once a year. Avoid sports and high-risk activities which may cause an injury to your single kidney.
A student of Surgical Technology from Dow University of Health Sciences. She brings her expertise on surgical procedures, knowledge on Human Anatomy and Modern Day Surgeries to help students understand and learn easier ways and help patients understand hospital procedures before their surgeries.