They are bean shaped, around 11.5cm long, found just below our rib cage, one on either side of the spine. What are they?
Why are kidneys so important and why can we not function without at least one of them?
- kidneys remove waste from our blood
- if not working properly, this can lead to a build up of poisonous waste products in the body
Name the two main forms of treatment for kidney failure...
- kidney transplant
How does kidney dialysis work?
- they can help keep a patient alive until a transplant is available
- the patients blood is passed through the machine and cleaned of any waste products that the kidneys would otherwise have removed
What are some disadvantages of a kidney transplant?
- all major surgery can carry some risk
- the kidney can be rejected by the body so immuno-suppressant drugs need to be used constantly to help prevent rejection
- a precise match of tissue type is needed
- there is a severe shortage of donors
What are the disadvantages of kidney dialysis?
- the patient must be connected to the machine for several hours each week
- patients need to follow a very strict diet
- they only work for a limited time per patient
What is meant by a 'living donor'?
A donor from a family member
What is the nephron?
Microscopic structures that produce urine. There are around 1 million in each kidney.
Breakdown the functions and processes of the nephron...
- a ball of blood capillaries called the glomerulus filters blood and produces glomerular filtrate
- a hollow cup of cells called the bowman's capsule collects the filtrate and it enters the tubules
- glucose is reabsorbed immediately into the blood capillaries
- water and salts are also reabsorbed into the blood capillaries so the loop of henle helps maintain balance by filtering out salts
- the waste is urine, which is collected by the collecting duct then transported to the bladder via the ureter
What is glomerular filtrate made of?
Water, glucose, salts and urea