Blood from one of the patient’s arteries goes through a system of tubing made of a membrane similar to cellophane. The tubing is immersed in a bath of fluid, which is as much like blood as possible, minus blood proteins. Waste products in the patient’s blood diffuse through the membrane of the tubing into the bath of fluid. The blood then returns to the veins of the patient. The artificial kidney may also be used to rid the blood stream of certain drugs or poison taken accidentally or with suicidal intent, such as barbiturates or bromides.
Should both kidneys fail through disease or injury, a person couldn’t survive without frequent use of an artificial kidney unless a kidney is transplanted from another person. Kidney transplants from one identical twin to another have been successful. In this case, the protein structure of the patient and donor are identical and the transplanted kidney is accepted. However, most people requiring kidney transplants do not have an identical twin who serves as a donor. Kidney transplants in all but identical twins present serious complications that may result in failure.
The urethra may be the site of various infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, and the other venereal diseases. These are diseases, which are spread through intimate contact. There has recently been a great increase in the number of cases reported of both gonorrhea and syphilis, especially among young people. At one time, treatment for venereal diseases required years and was not entirely effective. Now with antibiotic drugs, syphilis and gonorrhea can be treated in a few days or weeks, if treatment is started early enough.
Maintaining Normal Kidney Function
What can you do to protect the health of your kidneys? Here are some health measures you can follow.
The most important day-to-day help is to include adequate fluids in your diet. The average person needs between eight and ten average glasses of fluid each day. You should increase this amount on hot days when you are losing a large amount of water through your skin.
The amount and nature of the urine varies. Cold weather and nervous tension increase its flow because they constrict the blood vessels and raise the blood pressure. The color of the urine varies with the diet and with the amount of bile released from the liver. Cloudiness of the urine varies with the amount of salts in the diet. The odor likewise varies with the diet. Thus, the appearance of the urine is not usually an indication of the health of body or of the kidneys.
As for kidney infections, you found that they may involve other parts of the body first. It strep throat is dealt with immediately; the danger of acute nephritis is reduced. Likewise, a bladder infection can be stopped before it involves the ureters or kidneys. Above all, don’t try to diagnose a kidney ailment yourself or treat it with various pills and tonics. If your kidneys are healthy, they do not need treatment and stimulation.