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“Health is not everything, but without health, everything is nothing.”

Arthur Schopenhauer

Nephrology is the medical specialty dedicated to studying the structures and functions of the kidneys and the urinary system. Its objective is to prevent, diagnose and treat any diseases belonging to this system.

The renal system is one of the most important organs because the kidneys control our water levels, and toxins are eliminated from the human body due to metabolic processes through the urine.

In addition to this, and to a lesser extent known, the kidneys are also responsible for:

  • Controlling levels of:
    • Vitamin D, essential to keep calcium in the blood stable
    • Sodium, essential for maintaining blood pressure and helps muscles, nerves, and other tissues work correctly,
    • Potassium, important for nerve function, muscle contraction, and heart rate
    • Chlorine, to maintain the water and acid-base balance, as well as gastric acid
    • Magnesium, necessary for 300 biochemical reactions of the body, including the immune system, heart rate, and bone strength
    • Phosphorus, the second most prominent mineral in the body, after calcium, and present in every cell
  • Controls and regulates blood pressure,
  • In conjunction with the skeletal system, the kidneys monitor the level of calcium in the blood and urine
  • Prevents anemia.

When the kidneys become damaged and begin to fail, they are unable to eliminate toxins and clean and maintain the body's metabolic processes. Then the levels of toxins in the blood begin to rise, which can cause a vital alteration that leads to lung inflammation (or edema) and heart failure. This inflammation is known as Uremia. If it isn't treated promptly through either dialysis or a kidney transplant, it can result in death.

Unfortunately, the kidneys are usually silent at the beginning of a disease. Kidney problems will only come up in laboratory studies in urine analysis, so chemical studies must be carried out periodically, especially for at risk populations, those who suffer any of these diseases:

  • Abnormal uric acid
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Gout
  • Arterial hypertension
  • History of kidney disease in the family
  • Nephrolithiasis (kidney stones)
  • Obesity

Propensity to urinary infections

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