The human body is made up of different organs that are responsible of the different functions in the body. Although all organs are considered important, we can safely conclude that the kidneys are one of the most vital. But what are the kidneys and what is the location of the kidneys in the human body?
Human Kidneys (Location and Structure)
The kidneys are recognized as the major organs of the urinary system. The kidneys are two small organs that are located near the vertebral column at the posterior or the back portion of the body. Both kidneys are located on opposite sides; however, the one of the left is placed a little higher compared to the one on the right. This is due to the fact that the liver, which is a very large organ, occupies a wide area on the right side of the torso. This causes the right kidney to be pushed lower than the left kidney. Nevertheless, both organs are similar in shape (bean-shaped) and are also similar in size, which is approximately 4 inches or 10 cm long and roughly 2 and ½ inches or 6.4 cm wide. Each kidney also weigh an average of 150 grams. The kidneys are also dark red in color and one side of the kidney usually bulges outward or at a convex position while the other side if indented or concaved. A cavity is also attached to the indented portion of the kidney, which is called the renal pelvis. This structure is known to extend to the ureter.
Each kidney is also enclosed by a transparent membrane that is called the renal capsule. This capsule helps in the protection of the kidneys against infections and trauma. The kidney is likewise divided into two main areas namely the light outer area called the renal cortex and the darker inner area more commonly known as the renal medulla. Within the medulla structure we can find at least more cone shaped sections that are called the renal pyramids. The areas that separate these pyramids from each other are called the renal columns.
What is the function of the Kidneys?
The kidneys are considered vital due to their essential roles in the body. As part of the urinary system, the kidneys function in order to separate urea, mineral salts, toxins and other waste products in the blood. The kidneys are also responsible in conserving water, salts and electrolytes. Although the human body is blessed with two kidneys, the entire system can still function even with only one kidney. However, these kidneys are easily damaged, which is why it is important for us to keep both of them healthy and well functioning.
Learning the Anatomy of the Kidneys
The basic structures of the kidneys are called the nephrons. These nephrons are microscopic structures that are about a million in number in each of the kidneys. These structures are the ones responsible in filtering the blood as well as removing the waste particles. The blood in the kidney is delivered through the renal artery. Every day, there is about 180 liters of blood that pass through to the kidneys. This blood enters the kidneys and is filtered before it is delivered back to the heart via the renal vein.
On the other hand, the process of separating wastes from the body’s fluids and eliminating them is termed as the excretion. The body actually has four organs for excretion purposes. However, it is the urinary system that is considered the primary system for waste elimination processes. This system excreted a large variety of wastes, toxins, drugs, salts, hydrogen irons and water.
The kidneys are also full of blood vessels. These blood vessels are considered integral parts to the functioning of the kidneys. It is true that every function of the kidney involves the blood, which is why it requires a lot of passages through the use of the blood vessels in order to make the function of the kidneys possible. All in all, both kidneys contain 160 km of blood vessels.
Keeping the Kidneys Healthy
In order for us to keep our kidneys well functioning, it is necessary for us to modify our diet. A diet that is low in salt is considered very helpful keeping the kidneys healthy. Salty foods can cause the formation of kidney stones which are capable of blocking and impeding the natural flow of blood. Because of this, the kidneys can become inflamed causing great pain and discomfort in the area. Aside from this, increasing water intake is also recommended in order to help flush out the wastes and other particles from the body. Avoiding carbonated drinks or soft drinks is also ideal in keeping the blood clear of any substances that could add stress and work for the kidneys.
These are just some of the important facts about the kidneys, which include the location, structure, anatomy, function and importance of the organ. The kidneys may be small in size, but their role in our survival is definitely large and pivotal.