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Your Kidneys and How They Work

Points to Remember

  • Your kidneys are vital organs, keeping your blood clean and chemically balanced.
  • The progression of kidney disease can be slowed, but it cannot be reversed.
  • End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is the total loss of kidney function.
  • Dialysis and transplantation can extend the lives of people with ESRD.
  • Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney failure.
  • You should see a nephrologist regularly if you have renal disease.
  • If you are in the early stages of renal disease, you may be able to save your remaining renal function for many years by
    • Controlling your blood sugar.
    • Controlling your blood pressure.
    • Following a low-protein diet.
    • Maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol in your blood.
    • Taking an ACE inhibitor if you have diabetes.

 

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
3 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3580
E-mail:
nkudic@info.niddk.nih.gov

The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Public Health Service. Established in 1987, the clearinghouse provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with kidney and urologic disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. NKUDIC answers inquiries; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases.

Publications produced by the clearinghouse are carefully reviewed for scientific accuracy, content, and readability.

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WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

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