The Kidneys

The Body's Regulators

The kidneys do so much more than just make urine. Kidneys clean blood by filtering out excess water, salt and waste that enter the blood stream. Healthy kidneys also keep protein from leaking into the urine and help to keep blood pressure normal.

When the kidneys aren't working as well as they should, it often affects the whole body. You may produce too much urine, or too little. Too much salt, protein, or important electrolytes, such as potassium, may be pulled out of the blood stream where they're needed. Too much waste may be build up in the bloodstream, which can be toxic. Water may leak out of the blood stream and into places where it doesn't belong - causing your face, legs, or other parts of the body to swell. These are all signs of different conditions which can affect the kidneys.

Some kidney conditions can be inherited or genetic. Some are the result of another disease or injury. Some kidney conditions may have little affect on your daily life, others may require extensive medical treatment, dialysis, or transplant. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) refers to a large group of conditions which progressively affect the kidneys ability to function. Nephrotic syndrome also refers to a large group of conditions all of which result in excess protein leaking out through the urine and swelling at times.

At UM we are we are studying many conditions that affect the kidneys. For more information on some of these conditions, and the research being done to treat them, please select a condition (listed at right).