- A person can live a normal, healthy life with just one kidney. However, at least one kidney must function properly to maintain life.
- Diseases that threaten the health and functioning of the kidneys include kidney stones, infections, and diabetes.
- Kidney stones are mineral crystals that form in urine inside the kidney. They may be extremely painful. If they block a ureter, they must be removed so urine can leave the kidney and be excreted.
- Bacterial infections of the urinary tract, especially the bladder, are very common. Bladder infections can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. If untreated, they may lead to kidney damage.
- Uncontrolled diabetes may damage capillaries of nephrons. As a result, the kidneys lose much of their ability to filter blood. This is called kidney failure.
- The only cure for kidney failure is a kidney transplant, but it can be treated with dialysis. Dialysis is a medical procedure in which blood is filtered through a machine.
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