Kidney Basics Overview

Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs found below the rib cage on either side of the spine. Each one is roughly the size of your fist and weighs 1/3 of a pound. They filter 30-40 gallons of blood per day. They also create urine which contains excess waste, electrolytes and water. Blood flow to the kidneys is important. They receive 20% ...

How Kidneys Work

Electrolytes are neither produced nor consumed by the body. The kidneys are responsible for maintaining your body’s equilibrium of sodium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. To maintain this balance, any excess electrolytes are excreted in the urine. That’s why urinary excretion of solutes closely typically follows dietary intake. The kidney contains many types of specialized cells. One functional unit of a ...

Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)

GFR is generally accepted as the best overall index of kidney function. It is the rate that the kidney filters the blood per minute. It is the best measure of kidney function and is a rough indicator of how well your kidneys are working. Normal GFR is 90-120 mL/min (180 L/day), and is higher in men than women. The lower ...

Creatinine

Creatinine comes from the breakdown of creatine in your muscle.  It is produced by the body at a constant rate and eliminated through urine.  This makes it a good a marker to assess your kidney function. The higher the blood creatinine, the worse the kidney function. A blood test will tell you both numbers. Remember: GFR is only an estimate..its not an exact ...

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)

BUN stands for Blood Urea Nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential element of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. When we eat protein-rich food, it is broken down by our digestive system into amino acid. This amino acid has 1 of 2 fates: It is either used to make protein for muscle formation, or the liver degrades it ...

What Does a Kidney Do?

The kidneys maintain the environment required for the perfect functioning of your body’s cells. They remove waste and adjust for the elimination of water and electrolytes (including sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium and phosphate). The kidneys buffer body acid to balance our pH levels (normal ranges from 7.35 to 7.45). Acid accumulation lowers one’s blood pH, which could lead to ...