To clarify and emphasize the role of the kidneys as vital organs, several points can be made. The first is that they receive about 20%–25% of the total cardiac output, more blood per unit weight than any other major organ in the body. Through the formation of urine, the kidneys remove (1) wastes or metabolic by-products from the plasma, such as urea; (2) control total body and plasma levels of various electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium; and (3) assist in the regulation of body pH by the adjustment of plasma bicarbonate and the excretion of an acidic urine. They also control the amount of water in the plasma and all other body compartments to maintain constancy in the internal fluid environment. In addition the kidneys release two hormones, renin and prostaglandins, which have the capacity to influence cells and alter physiologic processes throughout the body.
KeywordsGlomerular Filtration Rate Tubular Cell Renal Blood Flow Renal Tubule Distal Tubule
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