Can you live with a kidney alone?


The organs of the body are vital for their proper functioning. When they fail and your problem cannot be treated with drugs or clinical treatments, a transplant may be necessary. However, you do not always have to reach this situation, despite the fact that the organ is key to the proper functioning of the body as it happens with the kidneys.

Can you live with a kidney alone

So, can you live with a kidney alone? The answer is yes, although not resounding. Everything will depend on each person and their general state of health and, of course, on the opinion of a medical specialist. In we will try to clear up some of the main doubts.

Are both kidneys necessary to live? The kidneys are organs that are fundamental for the body because the proper functioning of the excretory system depends on them. However, the human being did not always have two kidneys. Its appearance has been the result of evolution in order to filter the blood of the body and eliminate all waste products that have been ingested or have been generated in the body itself.

In addition, the kidneys also have the role of regulating the volume and composition in salts and ions of body fluids and the chemical balance of the blood to facilitate the cells present in the body to properly perform their activities and functions.

So, can you live with a kidney? In general, it can be said that with a kidney the body could be properly maintained, as long as it functioned at least 75% of its capacity. However, it is always best to live with both kidneys.

How the body works with only one kidney

Living with a kidney is possible because of the proper functioning of this organ, and that is that each kidney has nephrons (it is the basic structural unit of the kidney that is responsible for the purification of the blood), but not all are in operation.

Normally, about ten percent of these nephrons work, while the rest say that they stay at rest, so, initially, there would be no problems in being able to maintain the correct performance of the functions.

Consequences of living with only one kidney

Although living with only one kidney is possible, there may be some negative consequences in the body or that require medical control because they are people more prone to certain pathologies:

  1. Kidney failure: When living with only one kidney, kidney failure can occur because the kidney is not able to filter all toxins and waste substances into the blood properly.
  2. Hypertension: People living with only one kidney are more likely to have hypertension because the kidney can stop removing waste, leading to an increase in blood pressure as a result of the presence of fluids that have not been removed.
  3. Abdominal pain: when the kidney does not work well or there is a kidney problem, pain is generated in the abdomen area.
  4. Tiredness: People who live with only one kidney may also feel more tired. It is a fatigue that has no relation to either the stress or the effort that is made. It's just because the kidney isn't working well or there's an infection.

Tips for living and improving quality of life with a single kidney

In general, a person living with only one kidney should follow a healthy life and take care of food to avoid straining the organ that remains. It will also be very important to drink the mineral water that is most suitable depending on its composition. In the following article, we show which foods are good for the kidneys.

With sport, you will also have to be careful for sweating and effort, being always convenient to follow the medical prescriptions on the physical activity that can be done and the level at which it is recommended to practice to avoid problems.

These are some of the guidelines that can be useful, although it is always advisable to incorporate in the day to day all the advice indicated by the medical specialist, since they will be adapted and specific for each person. From, we hope to have contributed to answer the question of whether you can live with only one kidney and have clarified the first doubts before going to the doctor's office.


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