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Be Kind to Your Kidneys

By Dr. Victor Gong, Medical Director of 75th St. & 126th St. Medical, Ocean Pines Medical & Doctors Weight Control & Wellness centers, Ocean City, MD.

Make a fist and look at it. That's about the size of each of your kidneys. Hard to believe that something so small is capable of processing your body's entire blood supply. In fact, your kidneys filter about 1.5 quarts of blood every minutes.

How They Work

The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs in your back just above your waist. Each kidney has about a million filters which process blood from the main artery of your heart. They regulate what goes back into your bloodstream and what goes into your urine to be passed from your body. Urine is then sent to your bladder for storage until urination. SUbstances that go back into your bloodstream include water, salts, protein, sugar and calcium. Wastes include excess water, calcium and acids.

What Can Go Wrong

As master chemists, the kidneys are responsible for maintaining the delicate balance of substances in your body. It's easy to understand how something can go wrong. The slightest miscalculation by your kidneys can have serious results.

High Blood Pressure:

Because your kidneys handle such a large amount of your body's blood, they control your blood pressure. Each filter in the kidney senses the amount of blood that's about to enter it, releasing chemical that helps balance the pressure. Improper regulation of blood pressure can create long-term damage to the blood vessels; this increases your risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. However, high blood pressure is usually treatable with medicine or lifestyle changes.

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