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How Long Can One Survive with One Kidney

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  • How Long Can One Survive with One Kidney

    Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located in the either side of rib cage in human body. They are in charge of filtering wastes and fluids from the blood. Additionally, kidneys are responsible for regulating the balance of electrolytes as well as secreting hormones. Two kidneys work together to keep the wastes from being removed and thus keep the body function well. What would happen if we left only one kidney?

    Don’t worry about that. One healthy kidney can back you up for the rest of your lives. Even people with one kidney, they are able to live a normal life.

    Sometimes we donate our one kidney to the family members, sometimes people live with one kidney because of some kind of kidney diseases, injury or cancer. They got their kidney removed just for treating the disease. In rare cases, people have renal agenesis and born with only one kidney. Although this is rare, it happens from time to time.

    Why one can live with only one kidney?

    This mainly credits the compensatory ability of kidneys. Unlike other organs, we are born with overabundant kidney capacity. Due to this character of kidneys, one can live with 75% of its functional capacity with one single kidney. By the same argument, one healthy kidney can work as two kidneys. Interestingly, to those who are born with one kidney, their only one kidney will grow to a similar size to the combined weight of two kidneys.

    However, same thing happens only under condition that the only kidney is healthy enough, just like I mentioned before. Otherwise, one kidney function declines more rapidly than two. The possibility stands, which draws attention to protect the only left one kidney.

    By changing dietary habit, avoiding renal toxic drugs, taking regular medical check-up, consuming adequate water, taking exercise, and receiving treatments as soon as there’s something wrong with the kidney, can help protect the remaining kidney.