The Kidneys, Kidney Disease & Renal Dialysis
The Kidney & How it Functions
This background research is on kidney disease and renal dialysis. It focuses on understanding both concepts and how they both relate to each other and the Australian population regarding the high prevalence of kidney disease resulting renal dialysis in Australia.
The kidneys are a pair of bean shaped red-brown organs whose main function is to filter the blood that passes through the body and remove any wastes in order to keep the salts and water of the body in perfect balance. The kidneys do this by filtering excess chemicals and water from the blood and excreting them in the form of urine. The kidneys are located in the middle of the back, just below the rib cage on either side of the spine. The average kidney is around 12-15 cm’s long, 5-7 cm’s wide; 3 cm’s thick and weighs around 115-170 grams Nephrology Nursing Care Certificate 2003 (p. 02). Each kidney also has an adrenal gland on the top of the upper lobe.
The kidney has six main functions: To rid the body of waste, to regulate the amount of water and salts in the blood, to regulate blood-pressure and electrolyte balance, to produce key hormones, to control the body’s pH balance by adjusting the body’s acid base balance to prevent acidosis and alkaloses and to process vitamin D and phosphate to stimulate bone development.
The kidney is comprised of many complex parts. The diagram below only shows four, but the parts shown are key parts of the kidney. As the diagram shows, the unfiltered blood is sent into the kidney through the renal artery, and from there this blood will undergo a complicated filtration process (shown in diagram 2) in the nephron. From the nephron the filtered blood is sent out through the renal vein and back around the body. The waste and excess water (filtrate) that was removed from the blood is sent through the collecting duct and into the renal pelvis where it will be sent to the bladder awaiting...