The Kidneys and How They Work

The kidneys are a pair of vital organs that perform many functions to keep the blood clean and chemically balanced. Understanding how the kidneys work can help a person maintain healthy kidneys. For more information about the various terms you will find on this page, visit our glossary page.

  • What do the kidneys do?
  • What is renal function?
  • Why do kidneys fail?
  • How do kidneys fail?
  • What are the signs of chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
  • What medical tests detect kidney disease?
  • What are the stages of CKD?
  • What can be done about CKD?
  • What happens if the kidneys fail completely?
  • Talking Points
  • Hope through Research
All information presented is courtesy of the following organizations and their publications:
US Dept. of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearing House