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7 interesting Facts about our Kidney - Photo: Urologyaustin.com

Where are the kidneys located

The kidneys are some of the most important organs in the body. The ancient Egyptians left only the brain and kidneys in position before embalming a body, inferring that they held a higher value than other organs.

The positioningTrusted Source of the kidneys is just below the rib cage, with one on each side of the spine. The right kidney is generally slightly lower than the left kidney to make space for the liver.

Each kidney is approximately 3 centimeters (cm) thick, 6 cm wide, and 12 cm long. In males, the average weightTrusted Source of the kidneys is roughly 129 grams (g) for the right one and 137 g for the left. In females, the average weightTrusted Source of these organs is 108 g for the right kidney and 116 g for the left kidney.

Kidney Function

The main role of the kidneys is maintaining homeostasis. They manage fluid levels, electrolyte balance, and other factors that keep the internal environment of the body consistent and comfortable.

These organs carry out a wide range of bodily functions

7 interesting facts about kidney health

1. These “Beans” Have A Function

The primary function of your kidneys is to remove the waste products and the excess fluids that are in your body. The kidneys filter and return to the bloodstream roughly 200 quarts of fluid in the span of 24 hours. Around two quarts of this fluid is removed from the body by way of urine that moves to the bladder, and is ultimately excreted from the body.

Most people urinate between six and eight times a day. However, if you are consuming more than 64 oz of water a day, it’s not abnormal to urinate 10 times or more per day.

2. You Need To Hydrate For Good Kidney Health

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Photo: Medicalnewstoday.com

The old standard was 8 glasses (8 cups) of water a day for good kidney health. This might not actually be enough for most people depending on how active they are. If you are working out and sweating a lot, or spend time in an excessively hot/humid climate, you’ll likely need to increase the amount of water you consume per day. Are you worried you’re not drinking enough water?

Your urine color may help signal you that you need to drink more. If yours is dark yellow, you need to drink more water. The ideal “color” of your urine should be light yellow or colorless.

3. Your pair of kidneys is lopsided

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Photo: WebMD.com

Kidneys are located in the lower back—right below the rib cage — and they’re usually asymmetrical. Your right kidney tends to be smaller and sit a little lower than your left one because it needs to make room for the liver, whose bulkiest part is situated on the right side of your body.

Your left kidney, on the other hand, has some more room to sprawl out below the spleen, an organ of smaller stature.

4. There's a reason why you only need one kidney to live

Most people have two kidneys at birth, but only one kidney is needed to lead a healthy life. Each kidney has about 1.5 million blood-filtering units called nephrons, which help remove a waste product called urea from blood as it flows through the organs.

People only need a minimum of 300,000 nephrons to filter blood properly, and one kidney is more than enough to fulfill this purpose. (People without healthy kidneys can survive with dialysis, a process where blood is filtered by machine, or opt for a kidney transplant.)

5. Your kidneys filter about 45 gallons of blood per day

Although the heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body, the kidneys are doing their fair share of work, too. They filter a half-cup of blood every minute, which works out to be 45 gallons of blood per day—or enough to fill a small bathtub.

6. Your Diet Can Prevent Kidney Stones and Other Kidney Issues

Kidney stones are one of the most common problems in the urinary tract, and have become more prevalent in men and women over the past few decades according to the Urology Care Foundation as the consumption of processed foods and salt has increased.

Just how common are kidney stones? One in ten Americans will have a kidney stone(s) in his or her lifetime. And, more than half the people who get a stone, will get another within just five years. These can be quite painful to pass, and sometimes are so bad they require surgery.

7. The Sooner You Can Catch a Kidney Problem, the Better

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Photo: Mentalfloss.com

When you have your annual physicals, be sure to have your doctor run a urine test as well as a full blood panel to keep an eye on your kidney function. In the event you fear something may be wrong with your kidneys, don’t hesitate to request an X-Ray or CT Scan to get a better look at your kidneys, ureter, or bladder.

Early indication of possible kidney issues may help you prevent bigger problems in the future. Here’s to your kidney health!

Kidney Structure

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are roughly the size of a fist. A tough, fibrous renal capsule surrounds each kidney and provides support for the soft tissue inside. Beyond that, two layers of fat serve as further protection. The adrenal glands lie on top of the kidneys.

Inside the kidneys are a number of pyramid-shaped lobes. Each consists of an outer renal cortex and an inner renal medulla. Nephrons flow between these sections. Each nephron includes a filter, called the glomerulus, and a tubule. The glomerulus filters blood, which enters the kidneys through the renal arteries and leaves through the renal veins. The kidneys are relatively small organs, but they receive 20–25%Trusted Source of the heart’s output.

The tubule returns necessary substances to the blood and removes waste that then becomes urine. The kidneys excrete urine through the ureter, a tube that leads to the bladder.

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