Kidney health

Did you know kidney beans are named after our kidneys? That’s an easy way to help visualize how these organs look. At just the size of a fist, the kidneys are two of the most important organs in your body. They sit on either side of your spine, below your ribs and behind your stomach.

Your kidneys do many things to help keep you functioning properly. They remove waste and extra fluid from the body, and help maintain a healthy balance of water, salts and minerals in your blood. Plus, they release hormones that help control blood pressure, make red blood cells and keep bones strong. That’s a lot of work for two small organs! And, they work so efficiently that most of us are totally oblivious to their function — taking their efforts for granted. Well, it’s time to give our kidneys the love, attention and gratitude they deserve for all the work they do for us and our overall health.1

Who should I see if I have concerns about my kidneys?

If you have family or personal history with kidney conditions or you’re noticing symptoms related to kidney health, visit your primary care provider (the doctor or provider you might see for your yearly physical). They’ll likely order lab tests to check markers in your blood that help measure kidney function. Depending on your lab results, you may then be referred to a nephrologist (kidney specialist) for a closer look at your kidney health.7  

Footnotes

  1. Your Kidneys & How They Work niddk.nih.gov, 2018.
  2. Keeping your kidneys healthy nhs.uk, 2021.
  3. How High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Kidney Damage or Failure heart.org, 2016.
  4. Kidney Disease webmd.com, 2020.
  5. Diabetic Kidney Disease niddk.nih.gov, 2017.
  6. What Should I Know Before I Donate a Kidney? webmd.com, 2020.
  7. Chronic kidney disease mayoclinic.org, 2019.