Skip to content

Information and Resources

Living Day to Day with Kidney Dialysis

Take Care of Your Kidneys continued...

In the concave section of the kidney is a depression containing blood vessels, nerves and the ureter, a small tube that carries urine away from the organ and down to the bladder. The blood-filtering units of the kidney are microscopic tubes called nephrons.

The leading causes of end-stage renal (kidney) disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. These two conditions take a toll on blood vessels, and the kidneys are rich with blood vessels. Managing these diseases can go a long way toward preventing kidney failure and the need for dialysis. (See "Diabetes Demands a Triad of Treatments" in the May-June 1997 FDA Consumer.)

If your kidneys are normal, they don't need special care. A healthy, balanced diet and enough water to quench thirst are adequate to keep kidneys working fine. Fad diets, such as those very high in protein, however, can hurt your kidneys. Drinking very little water, or an overabundance of water (more than 8 quarts a day), may also damage these organs.

Other than illnesses, the real kidney killers are drugs -- they must pass through the kidney to be filtered out of the bloodstream. Some antibiotics, anesthesia medications, and antipsychotic drugs may damage kidneys. Even over-the-counter painkillers, if taken in large doses, may lead to kidney failure.

Common household chemicals can also hurt your kidneys. Chemical solvents, wood alcohol, toluene, carbon tetrachloride (a cleaning fluid), and ethylene glycol (antifreeze) can damage kidneys if ingested or inhaled. Be very careful handling any chemical and use it according to directions.

-- R.D.W.

Rebecca D. Williams is a writer in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

WebMD Public Information from the FDA


Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
Solutions for 19 types.
Woman running
Boost Your Metabolism.
build a better butt
How to build a better butt.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
brain scan with soda
Tips to kick the habit.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
stressed working woman
And how to fix them?
fat caliper
Check your BMI.
woman dreaming
What Do Your Dreams Say About You?
man with indigestion
How to keep yours at bay.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.