Now for the renal side of the story

Published: March, 2014

Prevention and early detection of kidney disease could save your life.

The kidneys get no respect. We talk of "lion hearts," "leather lungs," and even "iron stomachs," but the kidneys go unheralded — that is, until they go wrong. The pair of bean-shaped organs go quietly about their complex business of cleansing the blood of waste products, dumping excess water, regulating hormone levels, adjusting blood pressure, and ordering new red blood cells. Only when their function is impaired do the kidneys attract real notice. Then suddenly they loom very large.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »