What Is Kidney Disease?

can affect your body’s ability to clean your blood, filter extra water out of your blood, and help control your blood pressure. It can also affect red blood cell production and vitamin D metabolism needed for bone health.

You’re born with two kidneys. They’re on either side of your spine, just above your waist.

When your kidneys are damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in your body. That can cause swelling in your ankles, nausea, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of

breath. Without treatment, the damage can get worse and your kidneys may eventually stop working. That’s serious, and it can be life-threatening.

What Your Kidneys Do

Healthy kidneys:

  • Keep a balance of water and minerals (such as sodium, potassium, and phosphorus) in your blood
  • Remove waste from your blood after digestion, muscle activity, and exposure to chemicals or medications
  • Make renin, which your body uses to help manage your blood pressure
  • Make a chemical called erythropoietin, which prompts your body to make red blood cells
  • Make an active form of vitamin D, needed for bone health and other things

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