Your kidneys deserve as much care and protection as your heart or brain. Here’s why, and what you can do.
We all want to protect our heart and our brain. But how often do you think about protecting your kidneys? The health of those two bean-shaped organs is easy to take for granted, especially since there aren’t noticeable signs of trouble until chronic kidney disease — an irreversible loss of kidney function — has already developed. And with 37 million people in the United States struggling with the condition, and millions more at risk for developing it, it’s important to pay attention to your kidneys now, when you can protect them.
The role of the kidneys
The kidneys — located on either side of the spine, just below your rib cage — perform many important functions. They route blood through a complex filtering system that removes toxins; hold on to fluid, salt, or other minerals the body needs; and send the waste (urine) to the bladder to be flushed out of the body.
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About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
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