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How does kidney disease affect the body?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Kidney disease causes damage that decreases your renal function. Renal function, or kidney function, is a measure of how well the kidneys are filtering blood. If you have two fully-functioning kidneys, you have all of your renal function (100 percent).

A majority of kidney diseases damage renal function by attacking little filtration units in the kidneys, called nephrons. The nephrons' filters keep proteins and other cells your body needs in your bloodstream, while allowing fluid and waste that your body doesn't need to pass out of the bloodstream and convert to urine.

Once someone's renal function falls below 25 percent of what it should be, serious health problems will begin to appear, because the body cannot function efficiently when the bloodstream is polluted by unfiltered waste and excess fluid.

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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.