Nephrotic Syndrome Anatomy
To better understand nephrotic syndrome, it helps to understand the anatomy of the kidneys.
The kidneys are located in the back of the abdomen, below the ribcage and on either side of the spine. Each kidney weighs about 1/4 pound (0.6 kg) and is about the size of a fist. The kidneys filter waste from the bloodstream and produce urine. The kidneys also regulate the salt and water balance for the body. Urine leaves the kidneys and travels to the bladder via the ureters.
- Kidney cross section
- Kidney cross section close-up
- Kidney collecting system
- Genitourinary system
Major functions of the kidneys include:
- Elimination of waste products
- Regulation of red blood cell production
- Regulation of blood pressure
- Regulation of the body's delicate chemical and fluid balance
As blood enters the kidney, it is carried into functional units called nephrons. A nephron is made up of a cluster of small blood vessels called a glomerulus, which is attached to a tubule. There are about one million nephrons in each kidney. Combined, both kidneys have about 140 miles of tubes and filters. The filtration process that separates waste products from the blood takes place at the glomerulus inside each nephron.
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