Your kidneys are important parts of your body—very sophisticated machines that process about 200 quarts of blood every day to sift out about two quarts of waste products and extra water. The wastes and extra water become urine, which flows to the bladder through tubes called ureters. The bladder stores urine until releasing it through urination.
Your kidneys are amazing organs that handle several important tasks:
- Remove waste products
- Regulate total body fluid by balancing water and salt
- Help make strong bones and red blood cells
- Control the amount of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in the blood
Properly functioning, your kidneys easily perform all of these tasks—every day for a lifetime. Most people have two, but sometimes, people are born with only one kidney. In other cases, disease or injury can inhibit the function of one or both kidneys. In fact, research has found that people can function normally if only 20 percent of one kidney is working.
Kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to function adequately. This can lead to a build-up of poisonous waste products, high blood pressure, anemia and fluid overload (too much fluid) that can cause swelling and shortness of breath.
There are two possible causes of kidney failure: Acute renal failure (ARF), which is the sudden loss of kidney function, or Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), which is a gradual loss of kidney function over time.
When life brings you face to face with kidney disease, you want the best care possible. And the best team. That’s why the Crozer-Keystone team brings together physicians, surgeons and other healthcare professionals from across the hospital—nephrology, cardiology, oncology, endocrinology and the largest dialysis center in the Delaware Valley—to deliver a compassionate, multi-disciplined team approach to treating kidney disease.
- Dialysis: For patients with kidney disease, dialysis (cleansing of the blood with an artificial kidney machine) may be needed to perform the tasks that the kidney once performed.
- Kidney Transplant: For patients with end-stage renal disease or those who cannot or do not want to depend on dialysis, kidney transplant surgery can be lifesaving and life-changing.
At Crozer-Keystone, we provide a Living Donor Advocate for every Living Donor candidate—an independent, non-transplant team specialist to help potential living donors understand the issues and specifics of kidney donation. And of course, we offer a wealth of educational materials for transplant candidates and living donors, alike.