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What Are Kidney Stones by Kayla Tatum

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The main function of the kidneys is to act as a filter for our blood. ‘Dirty blood’ or blood that contains waste from food our body ingests, travels into the kidneys through a filtration process. The clean blood is distributed into our body. Kidney stones form when your kidneys cannot break down substances because of a lack of fluid in your body and a buildup is formed. These chemical reactions require liquid to help the process of breaking these chemicals down. When a lack of fluid occurs, the waste cannot easily into the filters of the kidney. The movement of water across the membrane of the kidney cells (osmosis) helps carry the blood into the filters. If these breakdowns do not occur, bodily damage and kidney cell damage can occur.

Kidney stones can form when your urine contains more crystallizing substances than the liquid in your urine can dilute. The most common kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in foods such as vegetables, nuts, and even chocolate may have high oxalate levels. When kidney stones form, your kidneys are not receiving enough water, causing the blood to go back into your body and have less water than it needs. This is why doctors tell people with kidney stones to drink more water; not only will the water help break the stone down, it will help hydrate the person’s body. If the person is not hydrated, the calcium oxalate becomes more concentrated because of the lack of fluid and the inability to break the substance down.

If the kidneys cannot function correctly due to lack of hydration, a person may become ill or even die. If the blood going back into a person is still ‘dirty,’ it causes bodily damage and kidney cell damage. If the kidney cells are damaged so severely, a person may need dialysis to stay alive if the kidneys cannot function. Dialysis is a method of removing the blood and with the help of special machines, the blood is filtered and put back into the body. Healthy kidneys can remove the waste from the blood and then transport the waste into the bladder to be deposited out of the body via urine. If urine levels decrease, this means the kidneys are not completely working as they should and a blockage of some sort may have occurred meaning a kidney stone has formed.

The kidneys filter the blood with a straw-like tubule: blood goes in the tube, tainted blood goes into the cells of the tubule wall and then clean blood goes back into the bloodstream, while waste continues into the bladder. Some substances are too large to go into the cells because the cells are selective with what they will take in. When substances are too large to go into the cells they are passed along into the bladder. When a buildup occurs, the waste cannot be filtered out and into the bladder, and urine levels will decrease. Causing blood to remain dirty, and then an overall bodily infection.

Kidney stones can be caused by many things: family history, dehydration, and diet. However, certain factors can also play a role men are more susceptible than women, Caucasians more often than other races, and obese individuals are all more likely to be a victim of a kidney stone. 13% of men and 7% of women are likely to experience a kidney stone in their lifetimes, a statistic quickly n the rise in America.

Kidney stones can be treated in several different ways, drinking enough water to flush out the kidneys, pain relievers, and medical procedures. Sound waves, surgery, parathyroid gland surgery, and a ureteroscope are other methods of fixing this common problem.

Kidneys are vital to life, if they are not healthy enough to function or cannot function due to a kidney stone, damage, sickness, and even death can occur.



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Works Cited

Prater, Alicia Mae. “Renal Anatomy and Physiology.” n. page. Print.  <http://suite101.com/article/renal-anatomy-and-physiology-a152902>.

“National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse.” Kidneys and How They    Work. n. page. Web. 21 May. 2013.             <http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/>.

Mayo Clinic staff, . “Kidney Stones.” n. page. Print. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kidney-stones/DS00282/METHOD=print>.



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