Today is World Kidney Day. Here are some important things that you should know about your kidneys.
Your kidneys have a lot of work to do. They remove waste and extra fluids from your body. They also keep your levels of salt and potassium in check. And they make hormones that help with blood pressure and making red blood cells.
Your two kidneys are shaped like beans, and each is about the size of your fist. They’re located at the bottom of the rib cage on either side of your spine.
Kidney stones form when there’s too much of a certain substance (like calcium) in your urine. They can stay in your kidney or travel down the urinary tract, where you’d pee it out. Kidney stones are different shapes and sizes. As painful as they can be to pass, the stones can be as tiny as a grain of sand or as big as a pearl — or rarely a golf ball. You may be more likely to get a kidney stone if other people in your family have had them.
Not drinking enough water and other fluids can lead to dehydration. That can damage your kidneys and even cause kidney stones. Take a look when you go to the bathroom: Is your urine clear to light yellow? It should be if you’re drinking enough liquids.
Because it’s your kidney’s job to filter your blood, too much of anything in your bloodstream can be bad. Certain pain medicine — like aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol and naproxen — can damage your kidneys, especially if you take too much, too often. Don’t take more than the recommended dose on the label.
. You can give a kidney to a friend, family member, or even a stranger.
Some people are born with one kidney. If one is missing, damaged, or removed, your other one can grow larger to become nearly the size of two kidneys. That helps it do the job of both.