What do your kidneys really do, anyway?
Most people don’t think much about their kidneys until something is really wrong. Considering they’re you’re built-in detox machines, you might want to pay closer attention to these fist-sized, bean-shaped organs. Sometimes referred to as the body’s “master chemists,” your kidneys sit just below your rib cage, one on each side of your spine. They filter your blood to remove any waste and excess fluids, producing urine. They also ensure that you have the right amount of minerals, like potassium and sodium, in your blood; another key kidney job is producing hormones that help control your blood pressure.
How do you know if something is wrong?
“Most kidney disease is completely invisible, and people only find out about it after a routine test that measures kidney function. By this time, there is pretty significant disease,” cautions Joel Topf, MD, a nephrologist at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Royal Oak, MI, and a spokesperson for the American Society of Nephrology.