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One of the most important organs in our bodies is the kidneys.  These bean-shaped organs are located in the flanks (areas to the left and right of the lower back) and their function necessary for life:  They filter the blood and excrete wastes and excess fluids from the bloodstream as well as maintaining the correct electrolyte balance of the body.  Most of us are born with two kidneys although we are able to do fine with one functioning kidney.  The blood tests that are most often used to monitor kidney function are the blook urea nitrogen (“BUN”) and serum creatinine. 

Poor weight control adversely impacts the kidneys indirectly and directly.  On the indirect side of things, obesity heightens the risk/development of two major diseases that hurt kidney function:  Diabetes and high blood pressure.  The most common cause of people needing dialysis in our country is diabetes.  Long standing, poorly controlled hypertension is also one of the leading causes of kidney failure.

Poor weight control additionally produces a direct negative impact on the kidneys.  Excessive weight causes the kidneys to “work harder” over time and this will translate eventually into damage occurring.

On the personal side of things, my Dad had kidney failure (smoker/hypertension) and he eventually needed dialysis before he died.  Going three times a week and being hooked up to a dialysis machine for hours altered his life tremendously and clearly the kidney failure hastened his premature death at age 74.

We often take for granted the function of our organs and when it comes to the kidneys, we (meaning those of us above 50) often lament about how often we need to take bathroom breaks.  However, this is not a “kidney issue”, but rather a bladder or prostate cause.  Be nice to your kidneys and they will be nice to you:  Lose that weight!