A to Z Health Guide

Simple Kidney Vocabulary List

Bladder: A sac in your body that holds the urine (pee) produced by the kidney.

Blood pressure: The force of blood pushing against the inner walls of the blood vessels.

High blood pressure means the force is too high.

Chronic: Health conditions that cause some long-term health problems.

Chronic disease: A disease or disorder that lasts many years (or forever) and may get worse over time.

Diabetes: A disorder in which the body cannot make insulin or cannot use it properly. Insulin is a hormone that controls how much sugar is in your blood.

Dialysis: A procedure that filters waste products and extra water from your blood. It is one of the main treatments for kidney failure.

GFR (glomerular filtration rate): A measure of kidney function. It tells you how well your kidneys work.

Inherited: Something you were born with and get from your mother or father, like red hair or blue eyes.

Kidneys: Two bean-shaped organs in your body. Kidneys clean the blood, help make red blood cells, and keep bones healthy.

Kidney disease: The loss of some kidney function. It means your kidneys cannot work as well as healthy kidneys. Kidney disease can be treated.

Kidney failure: The loss of all kidney function. It means your kidneys have stopped working. You will need a kidney transplant or dialysis treatment for the rest of your life.

Organ: A part of your body that does an important job. For example, the heart, kidneys, and liver are organs.

Red blood cells: Cells in your blood that carry oxygen to all parts of your body.

Risk factors: Something that increases your risk. For example, diabetes increases your risk for kidney disease.

Symptoms: A change in your body that alerts you that something is wrong. It may mean you have an illness or disease.

Treatment plan: A plan of medical care to help you get well, or to keep an illness or disease from getting worse.

Transplant: An operation to put a healthy organ in your body.

Ureters: Two tubes that carry urine (pee) from the kidney to the bladder.

Urethra: A tube that carries urine (pee) out of the bladder when you go to the bathroom.

Urinary system (also called “Urinary tract”): A system in your body that includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. It acts as a plumbing system to drain urine (pee) from the kidneys, store it, and then release it when you pee.

Urine: A yellowish liquid made by the kidneys. Your kidneys make urine as a way to remove waste products and extra water that your body.

The information shared on our websites is information developed solely from internal experts on the subject matter, including medical advisory boards, who have developed guidelines for our patient content. This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. No one associated with the National Kidney Foundation will answer medical questions via e-mail. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.