Dr. Mona Khanna, MD, MPH shares her knowledge on kidney function and how to maintain good kidney health.
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Rebecca Fox: Welcome to ICYOU's Medical Moment with Dr. Mona. Our medical editor Dr. Mona Khanna is here to talk with us about an organ in our body that we might not think a lot about, our kidneys. And Dr. Mona, I hear about heart health and lung health almost daily. But, not about kidneys what should I be concerned about them? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well, kidneys are very, very important, now we've got two of them, there are about the size of our fist, they are located on each side of our body, and what they do is they filter our blood. They essentially clear our blood and they filter about 50 gallons of blood every single day. Rebecca Fox Female Speaker: So what are some symptoms that would signify, I have problems with my kidneys? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well, it is very, very unusual for you to have the signs and symptoms right out of the blue that say, I've got kidneys problems. What happens is when you are on certain medications or if you have certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, like diabetes, doctors monitor your kidney function to make sure it isn't deteriorating. Or if you have a family history illness such as kidney stones, those things are followed very closely to make sure that you don't develop it before you have the signs and symptoms. One of the most common signs though would be if you stopped urinating because your kidneys aren't functioning anymore. Rebecca Fox: What are the best things that I can do to maintain good kidney function, is there anything I can do? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well, the first thing is to be very vigilant about any medical conditions you might have like the ones we just discussed the diabetes, the high blood pressure, which are the two most common causes of why folks get dialyzed. Which is when you have to go into a dialysis center and have your blood cleaned out by machines several times a week. So that's the first thing, is if you have medical conditions have to be very aware of the potential for kidney damage. The next thing is of course if you're taking any medicines and if those medicines happen to have a side effect where they do effects the kidneys and last of all is a family history. If you have a family history where your family tends to develop something like kidney stone or other congenital kidney diseases and nephrotic syndrome is something that can affect the kidneys, chronic kidney disease, things like that, then you have to be aware of that make sure your doctor is aware of it, so that you can be monitored and checked. Rebecca Fox: Okay, and now I have to ask this and perhaps our viewer's have heard of this is well. Do you know if there is any truth to that urban legend that they are actually kidney thieves that will drug unsuspecting travelers and steal their kidneys. Dr. Mona Khanna: I've heard that too, but in my experience I've never seen anything like that happen. What I will say though is we know that in some developing countries, where sometimes it's very difficult to earn a living, there people are selling their organs and kidneys, are the number one organs that are sold. But, to my knowledge nobody has ever lost a kidney without being a participant and making that decision to actually have it removed. And, so I don't know that there is any truth to that. Rebecca Fox: Thank you very much for separating fact from fiction. And, you could watch more Medical Moments with Dr. Mona here on ICYOU. For ICYOU, I am Rebecca Fox.