Kidney is a part of group of organs that constitute the urinary tract system which consists of two kidneys, two ureters, bladder and urethra. The kidneys do the major function of the urinary system. The other parts of the system are mainly passageways and storage areas. The kidneys are reddish, bean-shaped structure and located just above the waist between the peritoneum and the posterior wall of abdomen. A typical kidney in an adult is 10-12 cm long, 5-7 cm wide and 3 cm thick and has a mass of 135-150 g.
Under normal circumstances the two kidneys are able to do the following functions:
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Regulating of blood PH; the kidneys excrete an amount of hydrogen ions (H+) and conserve bicarbonate (HCO3-). Regulating blood pressure; the kidneys produce rennin, which activate the rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone pathways. Maintaining blood osmolarity; by regulating loss of water and loss of solutes in the urine, the kidneys maintain constant blood osmolarity.
Regulating blood glucose; the kidneys can use the amino acids glutamine in gluconegenesis. So they can release glucose into blood to help maintain a normal blood glucose level. Production of hormones; calctirriol (active form of vitamin D) which helps regulate calcium homeostasis and erythropoietin which stimulates the production of red blood cells. Excreting waste and foreign substances; by forming urine which contains the waste substances that have no useful functions in the body.
The above mentioned kidney functions based on the functional unit of the kidney called nephron. Each kidney contains about 1 million nephrons. The nephron is a tube closed at one end and open at the other and in between it consists of Bowman’s capsule, Glomerulus, Proximal convoluted tubule, Loop of Henle, Distal convoluted tubule and collecting tubule. About 170-200 liters of water are filtered through the kidneys everyday, but about 1-2 liters are excreted from the body as urine.
To produce urine, nephrons and collecting ducts perform three basic processes:
Each kidney connects to bladder by ureter, which is tube like structure that provides drainage from the kidney to the bladder during the process of urine formation. Bladder acts by means of contraction to expel urine from the body. In order for the kidney to work properly the renal arteries deliver about 25% of resting cardiac out put.
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