UofL Health leaders are closely monitoring the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation and we are fully prepared to address the needs of our patients and team members. Learn More.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located in the lower back along either side of the spine. Most everyone is born with two kidneys, but can live a normal life with just one kidney. The kidneys make urine, but they are also important for removing waste materials and extra fluid from the blood, regulating blood pressure, making red blood cells and regulating fluids and chemicals needed by the body.
The two most frequent causes of kidney failure are high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes. When kidneys fail, the result is end-stage renal disease and normal kidney function will not return. Over 26 million American adults suffer from chronic kidney (renal) disease, which could advance to end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
Kidney failure linked to Type 1 Diabetes most often results in kidney transplantation and occasionally pancreas transplantation if the pancreas is no longer efficiently managing hormone levels. Patients undergoing both surgeries simultaneously have the best chance at a normal quality of life without dialyses or insulin injections.