Human Body

What do the kidneys do?

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Without your kidneys, your body would be a lot less clean;the inside of your body, that is! In fact, your kidneys have the important job of keeping your blood both clean and chemically balanced.

The kidneys are a pair of matching organs on either side of your spine. Each kidney is shaped like a bean (think of kidney beans) and about as large as the size of your fist. Did you know that around 200 quarts of blood pass through the kidneys each day?! Your kidneys remove water and waste from the blood. This water and waste becomes urine, which travels through tubes called ureters into your bladder, where it can then flow out of the body. What kind of waste would be in your blood in the first place?!

Some of this waste is what's left after your body gets the nourishment it needs from the food you eat. Other waste remains when your body breaks down substances like protein and tissue for energy. The kidneys also make sure your body has enough of the chemicals it needs, such as sodium and potassium. In addition, the kidneys release hormones that do special jobs, such as helping control your blood pressure, keeping your bones healthy, and assisting your body in making red blood cells. It turns out there's more to these bean-shaped organs than meets the eye!

by Mya Kagan (Whyzz writer)

Further Information

Most people have two kidneys, but it's possible to live with only one! For example, a person may donate a kidney to someone whose kidneys have stopped working properly. Both the donor and the recipient will then have one kidney that does the important jobs you've learned about above!

Sources

How Your Kidneys Work. National Kidney Foundation. National Kidney Foundation, Inc.The Kidneys and How They Work. National Kidney& Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health.What Do Your Kidneys Do? American Kidney Fund. American Kidney Fund,.