Kidneys: Structure, Function & Medical Vocabulary

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Ureters, Bladder & Urethra: Structures, Function & Medical Terms

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:19 The Urinary System
  • 1:22 Kidney Structure and Function
  • 3:14 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

We will cover some basic terms associated with the formation of urine. Then we will delve into the structures that make up the kidneys and how each structure functions.

The Urinary System

You have finally secured a position in the healthcare field. The office you are working in sees a lot of patients on a daily basis. You are expected to collect urine samples to run basic tests on almost every patient that comes in. As you are studying a patient's urine, you start trying to recall everything you know about the urinary system.

It pops into your mind that the urinary system plays a very critical role in helping to keep our bodies healthy. There are several structures in the urinary tract that make up the urinary system. The majority of the function of the urinary system takes place in the very beginning of the urinary tract.

You start with some basic terms first. The correct term for pee is urine, which is a liquid combination of excess water from the blood and wastes from the body. The act of excreting urine from the body is known as micturition or urination. The formation of urine and the process of urination are carried out by the structures of the urinary system, which are collectively known as the urinary tract.

Water normally makes up the majority of urine and the nitrogenous wastes are called urea. The amount of wastes in your urine may determine the intensity of the color of your urine. Urochrome, a yellow pigment that comes from the breakdown of old blood cells, is the main determinant of the color of your urine.

Kidney Structure and Function

Now you start thinking about what you know about the kidneys. The kidneys are the bean-shaped organs responsible for filtering the blood to form urine. The other functions of the kidneys include regulating blood pressure and maintaining the correct water and electrolyte balance. Being in the medical field, you hear the term renal to refer to the kidneys. The kidneys are viewed in their two main sections the outer region of the kidneys, called the renal cortex, and the inner region of the kidneys, called the renal medulla. Not much really takes place in the renal cortex. So, you focus on the renal medulla.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account