Kidneys are the kidney bean shaped organs that are located to the left and right of the backbone, below the ribs. The size of a normal kidney is about 11cm long, 5cm wide, and 3cm thick. The kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood a day and also produces 2 quarts of water and waste which then becomes urine. Kidney disease can be fatal and effects people of all ages. An ultrasound imaging scan screens the liver for abnormalities in appearance and kidney stones.
Preparation needed for your Kidney health screening:
- For best results, we request that you fast for 6 hours prior to your screening.
- Take medications as normal.
- Wear comfortable clothing (a loose fitting shirt or blouse) short sleeves are preferred.
- If you are a diabetic, please bring a snack or beverage to eat or drink after the screening is completed.
What do the kidneys do?
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located near the middle of the back, just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. The kidneys are sophisticated reprocessing machines. Every day, a person’s kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to sift out about 2 quarts of waste products and extra water. The wastes and extra water become urine, which flows to the bladder through tubes called ureters. The bladder stores urine until releasing it through urination.
The actual removal of wastes occurs in tiny units inside the kidneys called nephrons. Each kidney has about a million nephrons. In the nephron, a glomerulus—which is a tiny blood vessel, or capillary—intertwines with a tiny urine-collecting tube called a tubule. The glomerulus acts as a filtering unit, or sieve, and keeps normal proteins and cells in the bloodstream, allowing extra fluid and wastes to pass through. A complicated chemical exchange takes place, as waste materials and water leave the blood and enter the urinary system.
Why is the test performed?
A kidney ultrasound is performed to measure the kidneys to make sure they aren’t enlarged, to look for stones, and to see their location compared to other organs in the body. The ultrasound can identify any abnormality in the kidneys such as any masses, fluid collection, or any infection.
Why do kidneys fail?
Kidneys fail due to diseases that attack the nephrons which are the main functional unit of the kidneys. Most of the time the disease is slow and silent, but sometimes can happen quite quickly. Both kidneys are usually attacked at the same time.
There are three types of acute kidney disease
- due to injury or poisons in the kidney
- chronic kidney disease, where there is gradual loss of kidney function
- the end stage renal disease where there is permanent and complete kidney failure and there has to be a transplant done
- Need to urinate more or less often
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, vomiting
- Drowsiness, trouble concentrating
- Darkened skin
- Muscle cramps
- Feeling of itchiness/numbness
- Swelling in hands and feet
Author: Robin Badillo