Kidneys – Did You Know?

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Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN

Renal Dietitian

Kidneys – Did You Know?

  • Renal is a medical term meaning “having to do with the kidneys”
  • High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of kidney failure.  Controlling blood sugar and blood pressure levels is key in protecting the kidneys and preventing or slowing kidney disease.  Other risk factors include heart disease, obesity, and a family history of CKD

  • 35% of people aged 20 years or older with diabetes have chronic kidney disease

  • CKD is estimated to be more common in women than in men (16% vs 13%)
  • 30 million people or 15% of US adults  (1 in 7 adults aged 18 and older) are estimated to have CKD
  • An estimated 12.5% of the population in Canada has CKD
  • Compared to Caucasians, ESRD prevalence is about 3.7 times greater in African Americans, 1.4 times greater in Native Americans, and 1.5 times greater in Asian Americans
  • Kidney disease, aka, the “silent disease”, often has no symptoms in its early stages and can go undetected until it is very advanced
  • Early treatment of CKD ensures longer survival of the kidneys. There are 5 stages of kidney disease ~ CKD-Stages 1-4, and ESRD-Stage 5 (requires dialysis to survive)
  • The kidneys have a higher blood flow than even the brain, liver or heart
  • Each kidney is about 4½ inches long and weighs about 6oz ~ no bigger than a standard computer mouse or a cell phone
  • Your kidneys receive about 56 liters of blood per hour ~ over 1.8 liters of recycled blood is pumped through your kidneys every day

  • Each kidney contains approximately one million nephrons ~ these are tiny filters that get rid of waste products carried in the blood. Placed end to end, the nephrons of one kidney would stretch about 8 km (5miles!)
  • The kidneys make a hormone called Erythropoietin (EPO) that tells the body when to make more red blood cells

  • They produce active vitamin D which helps the body to absorb calcium from dairy products and some other foods that you eat to make strong bones and teeth.

1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (active form of Vitamin D)

  • The first ever kidney transplant was conducted by Yuri Voronoy, a Russian surgeon in year 1933. The transplant failed.
  • The first ever successful kidney transplant was conducted by Dr. Joseph E. Murray in the US in December 1954 with identical twins.

Take care of your kidneys!  Be proactive and talk with your healthcare providers to discuss and identify if you have risk factors associated with CKD.  If detected, CKD can be addressed through lifestyle changes like diet, exercise and possibly medications, to help control signs and symptoms, reduce complications, to possibly slow the progression of the disease.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. KidneyChef urges you to seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. KidneyChef advises you to never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Website.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or local emergency service immediately. KidneyChef does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the website. KidneyChef does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the Website and reliance on any information provided by KidneyChef is solely at your own risk.


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