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Your Kidney Stone - Clogging The Plumbing

Updated on October 26, 2009

The urinary system processes the blood and eliminates the waste it gathers. To create and maintain balance in the body's other systems, everything the body does not need is passed out with urine. In general we do not need near the protein we ingest, so the 16 ounce steak you consumed last night at dinner, will create a large amount of waste. Those excess products will be directed to your kidneys to be disposed of. Unfortunately kidney stones can be formed from some of these waste products.

We must first see how the urinary system works normally under good conditions to keep the body in a healthy state and stone-free. Then we can determine what changes occur to overload the system or for any other reason to produce kidney stones.

The primary organs of the urinary system are the kidneys. Many people believe that kidneys produce urine, but instead that is only a by-product of the functioning of the kidney, whose main function is to purify the bloodstream by eliminating a wide variety of toxic substances. However, the kidneys are not just eliminators, but also balancers of the elements within your body. There are innumerable substances which your body needs to have in precise proportions, and the kidneys provide that critical function.

The balancing effect of the kidneys is extremely important to your continued health and sense of well-being. If your consumption of animal proteins or salt is excessive, then the kidneys will filter out most of these elements through your urine.

The kidneys filter the bloodstream through a highly sophisticated system of nephrons. Each healthy kidney contains upwards of one million nephrons which are the essential filtration structures that allow for the purification and balancing of various substances. Fluid which accumulates in the nephrons ends up being ducted through collector conduits and are passed onto the bladder to be excreted as urine.

Although the majority of the urine fluid is water, it also contains various salts, some acids, and a range of waste elements such as potassium, magnesium, urea, creatinine, and oxalate. The percentages of these elements fluctuate significantly depending on various factors, including what you have recently consumed, how much you have been drinking versus how much fluid you have been losing through means other than urination such as perspiration, as well as your general state of health.

Your kidneys and urinary tract act as your personal sewage treatment plant, and it is extremely important to ensure that they are functioning properly at all times. When there is an excess of waste that must be removed from the body, and the kidneys do not have access to sufficient fluid for that excretion, then the entire system becomes less effective and become obstructed. That process is the very unfortunate beginning of the formation of the kidney stone.

In order to diagnose a kidney stone, your physician has to confirm its existence via an ultrasound examination or a radiological study. In many cases, blood and urine tests are also taken. By using extremely strong sound waves, it is sometimes possible to break up the stones into smaller pieces which can pass more easily. This process is called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy.

Continued In: Your Kidney Stone - Dos & Don'ts

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