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Kidneys: Structure, Function & Medical Vocabulary

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  • 0:19 The Urinary System
  • 1:22 Kidney Structure and Function
  • 3:14 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Adrianne Baron

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

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