What do our kidneys do? 

The kidneys filter waste products from the blood before turning it to urine. This video explains in detail how the kidneys function.

Read more about kidney health

Transcript of What do our kidneys do?

Do they filter bad stuff out of you? Wee or blood. Something like that, anyway.

They keep you alive.

The most important part of the body.

You've got two.

You can have one taken out, so you can cope with just one.

- No idea. - No, not a clue.

They take waste products down to your bladder and get rid of it.

It filters the blood.

Take all the bad things out of your blood.

Are they about here?

Whatever excretion we do in terms of water,

it's because of kidneys.

I really don't know.

Is it to do with your salt levels?

They clean the body and it's where the urine come out from.

It takes all the bad stuff out.

(laughs)

Isn't it to do with draining your blood?

I know where they are but I've very little idea about what they do

apart from the fact that you need them, or at least one of them.

I know they're part of the renal system.

That's the only single word I know about kidneys.

Apart from there's two of them.

(Chris Steele) Your kidneys have a number of key jobs to do in your body,

and everything you eat or drink, when you smoke or when you exercise,

will have an impact on how well they're doing those jobs.

These two bean-shaped organs,

situated in your back under the lower ribs,

are your kidneys.

They may look fairly nondescript,

but every minute of every day they're working hard,

dealing with whatever your life throws at them.

Blood flows to the kidneys from the heart and the red arteries

and away from the kidneys in the veins.

The main job of the kidneys is to clean your blood.

Together, your two kidneys will deal with 200 litres of fluid every 24 hours.

They filter out the toxins and turn them into waste.

At the same time they're holding on to all those things that are good for you

and sending them back into your body.

The kidneys can also detect

whether your body has the right balance of water and salts,

things like sodium and potassium

that are found naturally in the body and in what we eat and drink.

Anything you don't need will be converted,

along with the toxins, into urine.

Your kidneys also produce Vitamin D,

which helps to maintain healthy bones and muscles,

and two hormones.

The first works on the blood vessels,

helping to keep your blood pressure normal,

and the second acts on the bone marrow,

ensuring you have enough red oxygen-carrying blood cells.

So this is a serious piece of kit we're talking about here.

And when things start to go wrong with your kidneys,

the implications can be just as serious.

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