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How do my kidneys work?

Your kidneys are very important organs that perform many jobs to keep the body alive and healthy. Each day, the kidneys filter about 200 quarts of fluid. About two quarts are eliminated through the urine. The other 198 quarts are returned to the bloodstream.
 
 The kidneys’ jobs are to:
 
Filter the blood to remove waste, impurities and excess fluid from the body in order to maintain a healthy balance of chemicals and fluidsRegulate the body’s levels of salt, potassium and acidProduce hormones for red blood cell production, blood pressure regulation and calcium metabolismProduce vitamin D needed for bone health
Your kidneys clean your blood by constantly filtering it through millions of tiny blood vessels. The filters in the kidneys perform two important functions:

  • They remove unwanted substances from your blood, such as extra fluid and the waste products made by normal processes within the body. To prevent unwanted materials from building up in the blood and making you sick, your kidneys send them to your bladder. The waste products and extra fluid then leave the body in the urine.
  • The filters keep needed materials in the blood, such as protein and minerals. The cleaned-up blood is returned to your bloodstream. Your kidneys perform other functions as well, such as helping to regulate blood pressure, stimulating your bone marrow to produce red blood cells, and helping your bones and your blood absorb calcium.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.