Anatomy: The Urinary System

The Urinary System is an important system. Like the digestive system it helps to extract waste products out the body. The urinary system aids to filter the blood and keep it free of waste and unnecessities. To do this, the system works with other organs including the intestines, lungs, and skin that excrete waste, (“kidney.iddk.gov”, 2012). Other waste such as urea, “is carried from the blood stream to the kidney”, (“Kidney.iddk.gov”, 2012). The Urinary System, particularly the kidneys, work as a primary function to keep the body balanced in minerals, chemicals, and fluids.

Structure

The urinary system is made up of a primary organ and accessory organs. The primary organs of the urinary system are the kidneys. The kidneys are two organs about the size of your fist that are protected by the back ribcage. They work to filter waste and urea from the blood and create urine. The accessory organs function to remove urine from the body. The accessory organs include two ureters, the bladder, two sphincters, and the urethra.  Once the kidney has filtered the blood to create urine, the urine is collected and carried away by the ureters. The ureters are known to be 8 to 10 inches in length, (“kidney.iddk.gov”, 2012). They stretch down from the kidneys and into the bladder. Ureters have a muscle along its wall that contracts forcing urine downward. At the bottom of the ureters, the passing urine is collected into the bladder. The bladder acts like a small expanding ball that holds urine. The sphincters act as a barrier to keep the opening tightly sealed until the urine is ready to be extracted from the body through the urethra.

Filtering Waste

“The kidneys are the organs that filter the blood, remove the waste, and excrete the waste into urine”, (“cancer.gov”, 2012). With these duties the kidneys are the primary function of the urinary system. The parenchyma performs the fundamental function of blood filtration. It is made up of the cortex and medulla located on the out most area of the kidney. From this area of the kidney it is able to receive blood from out of the bloodstream, take it in, and begin the filtration process. The outer layer is made up of medulla- a mass of vessels and structures moving in the direction toward the center of the kidneys, (“cancer.gov”, 2012).  Inside the parenchyma are nephrons. Nephrons have blood capillaries formed in the shape of small balls. They are numbered in the millions throughout the organ. The filtering nephrons consist of two separate parts working together- the renal tubule and small capillaries known as glomerulus. Blood filters through the nephrons, through the glomerulus, and into the renal tubule that works as small ducts that collect waste, (“cancer.gov, 2012). The ducts are located toward the center of the kidney where the urine is then carried away by the ureters.

Blood Pressure

The kidneys also function to maintain blood pressure. This is because the kidneys help regulate the amount of blood available in the body. When blood pressure is high, this indicates a high amount of blood volume. This is directly associated with the kidneys as they maintain fluid balance and filter blood. To maintain a healthy fluid balance, the kidneys must extract waste products like sodium and potassium. The level of sodium and potassium located in the body is known as electrolytes. High amounts of electrolytes can influence fluid volumes. The more electrolytes in the body, the more amount of fluid is located in the body, (Cole, 2010). There is more fluid in the body, simply because the body will retain water an attempt to balancing chemicals. However, this only results in high blood pressure which stresses blood vessels.

 

 

References

Cole, A. (2010, March 23). How the kidneys work in maintaining blood pressure. Live Strong, Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/88324-kidneys-work-maintaining-blood-pressure/

Components of the Urinary System (n. d.). Retrieved November 21, 2011  from             http://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/urinary/components/

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (2007, August).  Your Urinary System and How it Works. Retrieved November 21, 2011  from http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/yoururinary/

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About Russia Robinson

I am an independent freelance writer and free thinker. I strive to use my writing talents to benefit the greater good of society, one word, one sentence, one page at a time. Originally from Richmond, California I attended San Francisco State University receiving a BA in English Creative Writing and American Literature in 2004. After this I attended post graduate studies in 2008 at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University in Technical Writing. With an academic background in English, I have spent more than 10 years’ helping young people succeed. This can be seen in my career background in education and mental health. I am a certifiable Language Arts teacher for the state of Georgia. I also worked in social services including juvenile mental health treatment services and counseling. As a result, I understand the diversity of problems people face in their everyday lives. With words put together like so, I promote equality and a healthy society for all people regardless of individual differences. Conducting research, writing articles, essays, and blogging, I push to educate others about various issues that affect people. I also do this creatively through short stories, poems, pictures, and a novel in progress. My hobbies and interest are reading and learning. I enjoy all things art and all things nature. From camping and astronomy to photography and cooking, I enjoy sighting seeing and socializing just as much as I enjoy curling in bed with a good book or binge watching TV.
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