You have two kidneys. They are bean-shaped and about the size of a fist. They are located in the middle of your back, on the left and right of your spine, just below your rib cage.
The kidneys filter your blood, removing wastes and extra water to make urine. They also help control blood pressure and make hormones that your body needs to stay healthy. When the kidneys are damaged, wastes can build up in the body. Early kidney disease usually has no symptoms, which means you will not feel different. Blood and urine tests are the only way to check for kidney damage or measure kidney function. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure, you should be tested for kidney disease.
If you have kidney disease, it’s important to take steps to manage it, including making certain lifestyle and diet changes. This may involve changing what you drink.
For related information, see “Kidney Disease: A Silent Problem,” an Age Page from the National Institute on Aging at NIH.
The information on Kidney Disease was developed for NIHSeniorHealth by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at NIH