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Kidney disease

Any disease or disorder that affects the function of the kidneys. For additional information on these diseases, pleae visit Wikipedia's information pages on the kidney    Opens a new browser window .

Kidney diseases may include:

  • acute kidney failure
  • acute nephritic syndrome
  • analgesic nephropathy
  • atheroembolic renal disease
  • chronic kidney failure
  • chronic nephritis
  • congenital nephrotic syndrome
  • end-stage renal disease
  • Goodpasture's syndrome
  • IgM mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis
  • interstitial nephritis
  • kidney cancer
  • kidney damage
  • kidney infection
  • kidney injury
  • kidney stones
  • lupus nephritis
  • membranoproliferative GN I
  • membranoproliferative GN II
  • membranous nephropathy
  • minimal change disease
  • necrotizing glomerulonephritis
  • nephroblastoma
  • nephrocalcinosis
  • nephrogenic diabetes insipidus
  • nephropathy - IgA
  • nephrosis (nephrotic syndrome)
  • polycystic kidney disease
  • post-streptococcal GN
  • reflux nephropathy
  • renal artery embolism
  • renal artery stenosis
  • renal disorders
  • renal papillary necrosis
  • renal tubular acidosis type I
  • renal tubular acidosis type II
  • renal underperfusion
  • renal vein thrombosis

The kidneys are complex organs that have numerous of biological roles. Their primary role is to maintain the homeostatic balance of bodily fluids. They primarily do this by filtering and secreting metabolites (such as urea) and minerals from the blood and excreting them, along with water, as urine. Because the kidneys are poised to sense plasma concentrations of compounds such as sodium, potassium, hydrogen ion, oxygen, and glucose, they are important regulators of blood pressure, glucose metabolism, and erythropoeisis. The medical field that studies the kidneys and diseases of the kidney is called nephrology[1]. The prefix nephro- meaning kidney is from the Ancient Greek word nephros (νεφρός); the adjective renal meaning related to the kidney is from Latin rēnēs, meaning kidneys.

Generally, humans can live normally with just one kidney, as one has more functioning renal tissue than is needed to survive, possibly due to the nature of the prehistoric human diet. Only when the amount of functioning kidney tissue is greatly diminished will chronic renal failure develop. If the glomerular filtration rate (a measure of renal function) has fallen very low (end-stage renal failure), or if the renal dysfunction leads to severe symptoms, then renal replacement therapy is indicated, either dialysis or renal transplantation.

Medical terminology:

  • renal capsule: The membranous covering of the kidney.
  • cortex: The outer layer over the internal medulla. It contains blood vessels, glomeruli (which are the kidneys' "filters") and urine tubes and is supported by a fibrous matrix.
  • hilus: The opening in the middle of the concave medial border for nerves and blood vessels to pass into the renal sinus.
  • renal column: The structures which support the cortex. They consist of lines of blood vessels and urinary tubes and a fibrous material.
  • renal sinus: The cavity which houses the renal pyramids.
  • calyces: The recesses in the internal medulla which hold the pyramids. They are used to subdivide the sections of the kidney. (singular - calyx)
  • papillae: The small conical projections along the wall of the renal sinus. They have openings through which urine passes into the calyces. (singular - papilla)
  • renal pyramids: The conical segments within the internal medulla. They contain the secreting apparatus and tubules and are also called malpighian pyramids.
  • renal artery: Two renal arteries come from the aorta, each connecting to a kidney. The artery divides into five branches, each of which leads to a ball of capillaries. The arteries supply (unfiltered) blood to the kidneys. The left kidney receives about 60% of the renal bloodflow.
  • renal vein: The filtered blood returns to circulation through the renal veins which join into the inferior vena cava.
  • renal pelvis: Basically just a funnel, the renal pelvis accepts the urine and channels it out of the hilus into the ureter.
  • ureter: A narrow tube 40 cm long and 4 mm in diameter. Passing from the renal pelvis out of the hilus and down to the bladder. The ureter carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder by means of peristalsis.
  • renal lobe: Each pyramid together with the associated overlying cortex forms a renal lobe

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