World Kidney Day
Kidney Facts


  • Amino-acids: Building blocks of proteins.

  • Artery: Blood vessel carrying blood from the heart to the other organs. Blood carried in the arteries is generally high in oxygen.

  • Bladder: Organ in which urine is stored before being eliminated. It has a balloon shape with elastic walls.

  • Cystine stones: form in people affected with a rare hereditary disorder called cystinuria. In this disease, the kidneys release too much cystine, a type of amino acid in the body. Too much concentration of cystine in the urine may stick together to form cystine stones.

  • Creatinine: Waste product eliminated in urine coming from the breakdown of creatine from muscles. The level of creatinine depends mainly on the muscle mass and is thus quite constant in the same person. Creatinine blood and urine levels are often used to estimate kidney function.

  • Calcium stones: Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones. They form from too much concentration of calcium in the urine. The combination of calcium with other substances in the urine such as oxalate and phosphate often form stones.

  • Dialysis: Process used in kidney failure to remove from the blood accumulated wastes, toxins and excess fluid.

  • Excretion: elimination from the body of waste products

  • Glomerulus: Structure made of tiny blood vessels that filter the blood into urine.

  • Hormone: Substance produced by the body acting as a messenger and regulating certain cells and organs activities. Kidneys release several hormones: erythropoietin, renin and an active form of vitamin D.

  • Kidney: Vital organ cleaning blood from wastes and eliminating them in the form of urine. Kidney helps also in regulation of blood pressure, production of red blood cells and maintaining strong bones. Human body has generally 2 kidneys, but we can live with one kidney.

  • Kidney failure: Loss of kidney function.

  • Kidney stones: Solid mass formed by the crystallization of substances in the urine and their aggregation. It is sometimes also called renal calculi. See lithiasis

  • Lithiasis = stone : Not a Disease! characterised by the formation of stones. When located in the urinary tract or kidneys, we call it urolithiasis or nephrolithiasis. Stones can have different chemical compositions, sizes and shapes.

  • Lithotripsy: is a frequently used procedure for the treatment of kidney stones. In ESWL, shock waves that are created outside the body travel through the skin and body tissues until they hit the denser stones. The stones break down into small particles and are easily passed through the urinary tract in the urine.
  • Nephrology: Medical speciality dealing with kidneys.
  • Nephron: functional unit of kidneys. Each kidney contains one million nephrons working simultaneously to clean blood from wastes and eliminate them through urine. One nephron is composed of two main parts: renal corpuscule (the glomerulus) and tubule.
  • Nutrients: substance coming from foods and assimilated into the body to be used for energy production, growth, self-repair and maintenance of normal body functioning. Main nutrient categories are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, vitamins and minerals.
  • PH: In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution.
  • Protein: Large molecule composed of amino-acids. Proteins are important nutrients used in the body for energy production and build up of new proteins or other compounds.
  • Renal: Related to the kidneys.
  • Struvite stones: also called infection stones, they usually form as a result of a urinary tract infection. It is therefore more common in women than men. Struvite stones can become large enough to block parts of urinary tract.
  • Tubule: Part of the nephron with a shape of a long tube that produces the final urine from the liquid collected after blood filtration in the renal corpuscle. It can distinguish between essential nutrients that are reabsorbed into the blood, from wastes that are eliminated in the form of urine.
  • Urea: Body waste coming from the use of proteins and amino-acids in the body.
  • Ureters: Tubes conveying urine from each kidney to the bladder.
  • Urethra: Tube conveying urine from the bladder to the outside of the body
  • Uric acid stones: this type of stones develops from a substance called uric acid, a product that results from breakdown of proteins. People who eat a high-protein diet may be at risk of forming this type of stone. Uric acid stones are more common in men than in women.
  • Urinary tract infections: Infection in the urinary tract generally caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli.
  • Urine: Liquid produced by the kidneys and excreted to eliminate soluble body wastes and excess fluid from the body.
  • Vein: Blood vessel taking blood from organs to the heart. Blood in vein is generally low in oxygen. See renal vein

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