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Kidney Health...

Your kidneys may be small, but they are mighty, complex, hardworking organs that are vital for your wellbeing.  Most people have two kidneys. They are located under the ribs, above the waist, at the back, one on each side.  Kidneys are shaped like beans and are around 10-12 cm long, which is about the size of a small avocado or a curved bar of soap.

What do kidneys do?

  • Kidneys control your blood pressure. They help to regulate blood pressure by adjusting fluid levels and producing hormones. This supports heart health and circulation

  • Kidneys remove waste and extra fluid. Kidneys filter around 180 litres of blood every day which around 360 pints of milk or 240 standard sized bottles of wine!

  • Kidneys makes red blood cells. Kidneys produce a hormone that prompts the bone marrow to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen for energy

  • Kidneys keep bones healthy. Kidneys make vitamin D, essential for strong bones.  They also balance minerals like calcium, vital for bone strength.

  • Kidneys control PH levels. Kidneys maintain a healthy ph balance in your body by remove excess acids.  This keeps your body’s chemistry in check.

Blood Pressure |
A picture of a African Caribbean Family |

African Caribbean communities are five times more likely to develop Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) than other groups.  Factors such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, genetic predisposition, a family history of kidney disease, dietary habits, and a lack of health discussions within the community contribute to this disparity.


Kidney disease can also develop as a result of autoimmune conditions that disproportionately affect the African Caribbean community, such as Lupus, Sickle Cell Disease, and IgA Nephropathy (IgAN).

5 stages of kidney function |

There are 5 stages of kidney disease

In the beginning stages of CKD (stages 1 & 2), most people don't feel symptoms because their kidneys can still work fine without showing any signs of a problem.

Early kidney disease is often found during tests for other health issues.  Early diagnosis of CKD and regular monitoring is important, because lifestyle changes and medical care could prevent it from getting worse.

Symptoms of CKD include, but are not limited to:


  • Feeling tired all the time. Feeling tired all the time could be a sign of kidney disease as your body might not be getting enough oxygen rich blood

  • Foamy or cloudy urine. If your urine looks foamy or cloudy it could mean there is a problem with your kidneys or urinary system

  • Weight loss and poor appetite. Weight loss and poor appetite can be signs of advanced kidney disease, often resulting from waste build up and loss of appetite due to uraemia.  Uraemia is when kidneys are very damaged and can't filter waste and extra fluids from the blood anymore. This causes waste like urea, creatinine, and other toxins to build up in the blood instead of being removed through urine.

  • Shortness of breath. If you are finding it difficult to breathe, it could be because fluid is building up in your lungs, a sign that your kidneys are not working well.

  • Swollen ankles, feet or hands. Swollen ankles, feet or hands might be a sign that your body is holding on to too much fluid because your kidneys aren’t working properly.

Symptoms of Kidney Disease |

There are over 70,000 people in the UK are being treated for kidney failure (also known as stage 5 CKD), where kidney function is less than 15%)* (source Kidney Care UK).  This is around 4 in 10 people


There is no cure for kidney failure; only treatments such as dialysis and kidney transplants are available.


There are currently ver 30,000 people in the UK are currently on dialysis** and currently over 6,000 people on the kidney transplant list (source NHS Blood and Transplant: Organ Donation. ***

Read more about the 5 stages of kidney disease

Stage 1 Kidney Disease

Stage 2 Kidney Disease

Stage 3 Kidney Disease

Stage 4 Kidney Disease

Stage 5 Kidney Disease


* Kidney Care UK

** Kidney Care UK

*** NHS Blood and Transplant: Organ Donation - Statistics about organ donation (weekly statistics)

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