Your Kidneys and How They Work

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. Every day, the two kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should. The disease is called “chronic” because the damage to your kidneys happens slowly over a long period of time. This damage can cause wastes to build up in your body. CKD can also cause other health problems.

Kidney Transplant

Some people with kidney failure may be able to have a kidney transplant. During transplant surgery, a healthy kidney from a donor is placed into your body. The new, donated kidney does the work that your two kidneys used to do.

Eating Right with Kidney Failure

The choices you make about what to eat and drink can help you feel better and can make your kidney failure treatments work better. Eating the right foods may give you more energy and strength.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder that causes many fluid-filled cysts to grow in your kidneys. Unlike the usually harmless simple kidney cysts that can form in the kidneys later in life, PKD cysts can change the shape of your kidneys, including making them much larger.

Managing CKD

If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), you can take steps to protect your kidneys from more damage.

Choosing a Treatment for Kidney Failure

Talking early with your provider about your treatment options—and making a choice before you need any one of these treatments—helps you take charge of your care. Treatment will help you feel better and live longer.

Diabetic Kidney Disease

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. About 1 out of 4 adults with diabetes has kidney disease.

Anemia in Chronic Kidney Disease

Anemia might begin to develop in the early stages of CKD, when someone has 20 to 50 percent of normal kidney function. Anemia tends to worsen as CKD progresses. Most people who have total loss of kidney function, or kidney failure, have anemia.

Kidney Disease and Heart Disease

If you have kidney disease, you are more likely to get heart disease

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