Anatomy Physiology

Overview of the kidneys:

Kidneys are one of the vital organs in our body and its functional disruption can even cause death by deranging many metabolic functions and secondarily affecting other vital organs. There are many factors which can influence the kidney functions and these can either be intrinsic or else erupting extrinsically. In any event, when the urine output does not occur in adequate amounts or else the constituents of the urine become abnormal, it generally indicates something wrong in the urinary system including the kidneys.

What are the functions of a kidney?

When considering the functions of the kidney, its regulation of body water can be deemed one of the most important as overloading of water within the vasculature can be a life threatening event. At the same time, electrolyte balance is also important when considering its influence on many of the metabolic and physiological processes and thereby for vital organ function. Furthermore, it is one of the methods of excreting by products and toxic substances if left within the body systems would be detrimental to life. Likewise, many other functions such as maintaining blood pressure, balancing the calcium levels in the body, controlling the blood pH levels…etc are also performed by the kidneys.

Why is it important to know the factors affecting its function?

Given the important part it plays in our life, knowing the factors which can disrupt its function would be vital for many of us. It will give us the opportunity to control such bad influences and play an active role in maintaining and promoting factors which would positively influence its efficient functioning. Thus, following is a list of such factors that can be derived from a lengthy list of factors that affect the kidney function.

What are the factors which affect the kidney function?

Anatomical structure : Being one of the important factors, any abnormal structures either in the kidneys or else in the urine passage can influence the function. For instance, when there is an abnormal blockage such as a posterior urethral valve, the excreted urine can cause a back pressure due to its inability to drain and therefore damage the kidneys reducing its functional capacity.

Infections : Urinary infections or particularly kidney infections such as pyelonephritis can badly affect the kidneys although this is not the case in most instances. But, such infections occurring in very young age or else when repeated infections take place, there is a possibility of disrupting the kidney function in susceptible individuals.

Diabetes : Perhaps one of the commonest causes that influence the kidney function, long term poorly controlled diabetics can develop a condition known as ‘diabetic nephropathy’.

Renal stones : Another cause that can influence the kidney function would be the kidney stones which in most instances would be benign although some can enlarge within the pelvis of the kidney which can disrupt the kidney function to a certain extent.

Smoking : It has also been revealed that, smoking can also influence the kidney function badly and therefore should take measures to cut down in susceptible instances.

Diet and water : In certain parts of the world, there is a potential risk of kidney diseases due to dietary sources or drinking water.

Apart from these, there can be many other factors which influence the kidney function and high blood pressure, metabolic derangements, autoimmune diseases, cancers…etc can all influence its function to varied levels and therefore should kept in mind in such instances.