Kidneys! – What are they? -
The kidneys are two bean shaped organs of the renal system located on the posterior wall of the abdomen one on each side of the vertebral column at the level of the twelfth rib. The right kidney is slightly lower than the left. The kidneys measure about 10 cm in length and, 5 cm in breadth and about 2.5 cm in thickness or roughly about the size of your fist.
The kidneys receive about a fifth (20%) of the blood pumped by the heart every minute and the kidneys filter approximately 1 to 1.2 liters of blood every minute. Almost all the blood in the human body passes through the kidney every 5 minutes.Major Function of the kidneys
Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) develops over a period of time when there is a decrease in the kidneys' ability to perform their normal functions. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick.
Unfortunately most of the times early CKD has no or very vague symptoms like fatigue, poor appetite, increased urination at night. Chronic kidney disease is quite common, and people often have the condition without knowing it.
Complications of CKD like high blood pressure, anaemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage, may develop long before CKD is diagnosed. Kidney disease also increases your risk of having heart and stroke.
Almost 80% of CKD is caused by diabetes and high blood pressure.
Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a Renal transplant to maintain life.
Tests for chronic kidney disease
A blood test of serum creatinine can be used to know your GFR (or glomerular filtration rate). This is a measure of how well your kidneys are working.
(Serum Creatinine varies with age, sex and race. It remains within the normal range till more than 50% of kidneys are damaged. Hence it is essential to also know your GFR to assess kidneys)
A simple urine sample can detect protein in your urine (this is called proteinuria), which is also a sign that your kidneys are not working properly. You should be offered these tests if you are at risk.
Who should get Tested
If you have any of the following you should be tested for chronic kidney disease: