What is Kidney?


  •  The kidney is a major part of the Urinary System.
  •  It is a reddish brown bean-shaped organ with a smooth surface.
  •  It lies on either side & the vertebral column in a depression high on the posterior wall of the abdominal cavity (see fig. 1 and 2).

Urinary System
Urinary System

Kidney Structure

What makes up the Kidney?

Ans: The kidney has the following major parts:

  •  An inner medulla
  •  An outer renal cortex
  •  A renal capsule- which is a tough fibrous membrane that surrounds the cortex. (see fig.3)


What are the functions of the Kidney?

Ans: The kidney is a filtering organ. Its functions are:

  •  To regulate the volume and composition of body fluids.
  •  To remove metabolic wastes, as well as excess water and electrolytes (i.e. substances that dissociate and ionize in water; become electrically charged particles. Example, sodium chloride (table salt) when put in water becomes Na and & from the blood.
  •  To control the rate of red blood cell formation (by secreting the hormone called erythropoietin).
  •  To regulate blood pressure (by secreting the enzyme called rennin).


What is a disease?


  •  A disease is a condition that impairs the performance of a vital body function.
  •  It is a harmful development in a person caused by disease causing agents like viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc.
  • What is chronic disease?
  •  It is a disease marked by long duration or frequent occurrence.


What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?


  •  It is a prolonged disease that causes the kidney to be damaged and to no longer function as well as it should.
  •  That is, the kidney cannot filter out or remove wastes from the blood as effidently as it should.
  •  If the kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build up to high levels in the blood and make a person feel sick or become sick.


What are the most common causes of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Ans: They are:

  •  Diabetes mellitus (elevated glucose in urine and blood due to a deficiency in insulin or a poor response to it,)
  •  High blood pressure.
  •  Heart disease (also called cardiovascular disease)
  •  Infections such as
  1. pyelonephritis (a type of urinary tract infection (UT!) that affects one or both kidneys).
  2. glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the glomerulus – an important functional part of the kidney. It may lead to kidney failure).


What is Urine?


Urine is a waste and excess water removed from the blood and excreted by the kidney into the ureter, to the saclike urinary bladder arid Out of the body through the urethra (see fig. 1 urinary system).


What is the composition of Urine?

  •  Urine is composed of 95% water,
  •  Urea (produced as a breakdown of protein or amino acid)
  •  Uric add (produced as a breakdown of nucleic acids), and Creatinine (produced from breakdown of creatine (white crystalline nitrogenous substance found especially in the muscles of vertebrates free)
  •  It also has trace amounts of amino acids and electrolytes (a substance that when dissolved in a suitable solvenl or when fused becomes an ionic conductor) which vary With dietary intake.


What are the symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease?


  •  Fatigue, loss of appetite, malaise (indefinite feeling of debility or lack of good health), or water-electrolyte imbalance.
  •  Also common: abnormal heart arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), fluid in the lungs, insufficient urine production, itching, severe unintentional weight loss or swelling.
  •  Brown, red, or purple urine.
  •  Urine may be foamy or bubbly.
  •  Urine may contain blood (hematuria).
  •  Swollen ankles, feet or hands


What are the prevention tips for Chronic Kidney Disease?

Ans: If you smoke, take steps to quit

  •  Get blood and urine checked for kidney disease periodically
  •  Learn to manage diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease if you have them
  •  Take medicines in prescribed dosage
  •  Lose weight if you are overweight or obese; increase physical activity
  •  Follow a healthy diet
  •  Reduce salt in diet.


What are remedial actions for Kidney failure?

Ans: They are:

  •  Initiate dialysis therapy
  •  What is dialysis?
  •  It is a procedure that is a substitute for the normal functions of the kidneys.
  • Go for or seek kidney transplant


What is the advice to people about Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Ans: Chronic kidney disease is one of the noninfectious diseases that are becoming rampant in the U.S. and Nigeria.

  •  It involves a lot of financial burden and if there is kidney failure then it is worse.
  •  As stated above, the remedial actions for kidney failure are dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  •  Dialysis is extremely expensive and not as available in Nigeria as it should be.
  •  Getting a kidney transplant is a herculean task or hardly existent in Nigeria, so one should seek this outside Nigeria.

Chief Prof. Alex O. Wozuzu Acholonu PhD, FNSP, FRAES, FAS, OON

Department of Biological Sciences

Alcorn State University

Lorman, MS 39096, USA



Founder/President and CEO

Willy-Esther Foundation Inc.

P.O. Box 10, CYweni

Imo State, Nigeria




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