Kidneys act like big filters removing excess water, toxins and other waste from blood and these are excreted in the form of urine. Kidneys also regulate blood pressure and convert vitamin D to assist maintenance of strong bones.
Treatments for kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), where there is a gradual loss of kidney function, caused the death of 1.23 million people in 2017. People with diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension) are at greater risk of developing CKD. This disease is also more prevalent in certain groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
As CKD progresses, the kidneys become scarred (kidney fibrosis) and cannot function properly. The last stage of CKD is kidney failure (end-stage renal failure), which occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to remove waste products and water from the body. Treatments for people with kidney failure include dialysis (waste from your blood is removed by a machine) or a kidney transplant.
Researchers are exploring new methods to treat fibrosis and kidney failure to decrease any unwanted effects of current drugs used to treat fibrosis.
Image caption: Within a kidney. (Illustration)
Image credit: Shutterstock