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The kidneys are two small bean-shaped organs, approximately the size of a fist, located just underneath the ribcage on either side of the spine. According to National Kidney Foundation, the kidneys filter up to 200 quarts of blood each day through the nephrons, thus maintaining electrolyte balance and removing some drugs, wastes and excess water from the body 1. The kidneys create urine as they filter the blood, which collects in the renal pelvis, a funnel-shaped structure. The urine then drains down the ureters to the bladder.
Recieves Water and Waste Products
The kidneys are composed of a million filtering units each, called nephrons. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, each nephron contains a tiny capillary, the glomerulus, attached to a collecting tubule for the filtered wastes and water. The wastes and water form urine, which passes down a series of progressively larger tubules into a structure called a calyx. All the calices together form the funnel-shaped renal pelvis, which first receives the urine which has been filtered through the nephrons and passed down the tubules.
- The kidneys are composed of a million filtering units each, called nephrons.
- All the calices together form the funnel-shaped renal pelvis, which first receives the urine which has been filtered through the nephrons and passed down the tubules.
Collection of Urine
What Are the Parts of the Human Kidney?
After the urine moves down through the series of tubules, it is collected within the renal pelvis. Before reaching the renal pelvis, some water and essential electrolytes, such as:
- phosphorus are reabsorbed back into the body
It is essential for the body to maintain an exact balance of electrolytes in order to function properly. The rest of the wastes, including proteins from tissue and muscle breakdown, and the excess water and electrolytes contained in the urine pass down into the renal pelvis for collection. In maintaining water and electrolyte balance, along with the production of the enzyme renin, the kidneys help to regulate blood pressure.
- After the urine moves down through the series of tubules, it is collected within the renal pelvis.
- In maintaining water and electrolyte balance, along with the production of the enzyme renin, the kidneys help to regulate blood pressure.
Moves Urine Into the Ureters
The urine collects within the renal pelvis, located in the center of each kidney. From there, the urine is moved down the ureters, which attach to the renal pelvis, into the bladder, where it can sit for one to eight hours before being eliminated from the body. According to NKUDIC, the kidneys are so efficient that a 30 to 40 percent decrease in kidney function may be barely noticeable. Most of those who are born with only one kidney and those who donate one of their kidneys are able to live completely normal lives. However, serious problems can ensue when kidney function is less than 25 percent. At less than 15 percent function, dialysis or kidney transplant may be considered.
- The urine collects within the renal pelvis, located in the center of each kidney.
- According to NKUDIC, the kidneys are so efficient that a 30 to 40 percent decrease in kidney function may be barely noticeable.
What Are the Parts of the Human Kidney?
Urinary Formation Process in the Kidneys
Causes of & Treatment for Swollen Feet
Signs of Kidney Blockage
Causes of Low Back Pain and Kidney Infection
Parts of the Urinary System
What Are the Causes of Pitting Edema?
Kidney Stent Side Effects
How Is Glucose Normally Processed by the Kidneys?
What Are the Causes of a Swollen Kidney?
- National Kidney Foundation: How Your Kidneys Work
- Discovery Health: How Your Kidneys Work
- Soriano RM, Leslie SW. Anatomy, abdomen and pelvis, kidneys. StatPearls. Updated April 5. 2019.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. Anatomy of the urinary system. Updated 2020.
- Biga LM, et al. Internal and external anatomy of the kidney. OpenStax/Oregon State University. Anatomy and Physiology.
- Mullens W, Nijst P. Cardiac output and Renal dysfunction: Definitely more than impaired flow. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016;67(19):2209-2212. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2016.03.537
- Rabinowitz R, Cubillos J. Kidney Defects. Merck Manual. Updated April 2019.
- Biga LM, et al. Physiology of urine formation. OpenStax/Oregon State University. Anatomy and Physiology.
- Cleveland Clinic. Kidney disease: Chronic kidney disease. Updated 2015.
- Gounden V, Jialal, I. Renal function tests. StatPearls. Updated April 3, 2019.
- National Kidney Foundation. Estimated glomerular filtration rate. Updated 2018.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. Kidney ultrasound. Updated 2020.
- Cleveland Clinic. Kidney transplant procedure. Updated 2019.
- National Kidney Foundation. Living with one kidney. Updated 2020.
Kathryn Meininger began writing and publishing poetry in 1967. She was co-founder and editor of the professional magazine "Footsteps" and began writing articles online in 2010. She earned a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from William Paterson University.