The kidneys accomplish many crucial tasks, even when one or both are failing:
– They filter toxins created by the breakdown of proteins, which are excreted in urine. The waste products include urea produced by the liver and creatinine converted by the muscles. When the kidneys malfunction, the toxins circulate in the bloodstream.
– They filter and regulate blood and recycle nutrients, constantly regulating the balance between water and electrolytes (sodium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus).
– They regulate blood acidity and pressure.
– They produce the hormone erythropoietin that helps create new red blood cells, which is why anemia often accompanies advanced kidney disease.