The kidney is our topic for the Sparkling Hill newsletter this month. Anybody who is healthy has two of these, although one can survive quite well with just one. They are bean-shaped organs located high up in the abdomen, at the back, on both sides of the spine. The right kidney usually lies...
The kidney is our topic for the Sparkling Hill newsletter this month.
Anybody who is healthy has two of these, although one can survive quite well with just one. They are bean-shaped organs located high up in the abdomen, at the back, on both sides of the spine. The right kidney usually lies slightly lower than the left and usually is also smaller. The kidneys are critical to maintaining body homeostasis. They regulate how acid or alkaline our body is; manages the correct concentration of all the necessary electrolytes in the body, such as potassium and sodium; our blood pressure; and how much of the body’s fluid is in between our cells and not inside the arteries and veins. On an average day, the kidneys filter about 180 litres of fluid, reabsorb the vast majority of that and leave us with about two litres of urine a day. As glucose also gets reabsorbed, we can use the urine to see if somebody has diabetes, because as soon as blood levels reach 8.9 mmol/l, the kidney cannot keep up with full absorption of the glucose back into the blood and it will start spilling into the urine. Also, through excretion, the body uses the kidneys to get harmful substances—called urea and uric acid—that are the product of protein and nucleic acid metabolism into the urine and in that way out of the body.
If our kidneys stop working completely, we will only survive on average for ten more days. Our kidneys can fail for a number of reasons. These include a loss of blood flow to the kidneys (such as in severe dehydration or when one suffered extensive burn wounds), obstruction of the urine passage ways leading to problems with elimination of the urine (such as prostate or bladder cancer), or when affected by other medical conditions (such as hypertension, diabetes or as a result of chemotherapy).
Kidney failure presents with many different symptoms. Some of these include a reduced amount of urine, swelling of our legs, ankles or feet, excessive exhaustion, ongoing nausea or unexplained shortness of breath.
Although one in three of us is at an increased risk to develop kidney disease in our lifetime, we can reduce the risk of that by paying attention to a few simple habits:
Dr. Strauss was born in South Africa, emigrating to Canada with his family in 1995. He has a private practice in the Fraser Valley and sees patients with mental health issues in his community. He was Head of the Psychiatry Department at a regional hospital with a staff of nine psychiatrists until last year when he decided to focus on his practice and his work at our hotel. Dr. Strauss has always been interested in long-term human relationships and envisioned enhancing relationships.
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