Glossary of Terms

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Abnormal: Differing from normal.



Biopsy (BY-op-see): A procedure in which a tiny piece of a body part, such as the kidney, is removed for examination under a microscope.



Creatinine (kree-AT-ih-nin): A waste product that is removed from blood by the kidneys. If kidney disease worsens, the level of creatinine in the blood increases.

Creatinine clearance: A test that measures how efficiently the kidneys remove creatinine from the blood. Low creatinine clearance indicates impaired kidney function.



Glomerulus (gloh-MEHR-yoo-lus): (Plural: glomeruli) A tiny set of looping blood vessels in the kidney where blood is filtered.



Immune (im-MYOON) system: The body’s system for protecting itself from viruses and bacteria or any “foreign” substances.



Kidney: Bean-shaped organ that filters wastes from the blood. The body has two kidneys located near the middle of the back. They create urine, which is delivered to the bladder through tubes called ureters.

kidney Failure: Loss of kidney function.



Nephrologist (nef-RAHL-oh-jist): A doctor who treats patients with kidney problems or hypertension.

Nephron (NEF-rahn): A tiny part of the kidneys. Each kidney is made up of about 1 million nephrons, which are the working units of the kidneys, removing wastes and extra fluids from the blood.

Nephrotic (nef-RAH-tik) syndrome: A collection of symptoms that indicate kidney damage. Symptoms include high levels of protein in the urine, lack of protein in the blood, and high blood cholesterol.



Proteinuria (PRO-tee-NOOR-ee-uh): A condition in which the urine contains large amounts of protein, a sign that the kidneys are not functioning properly.



Renal (REE-nul): Of the kidneys. A renal disease is a disease of the kidneys. Renal failure means the kidneys have stopped working properly.



Urea (yoo-REE-uh): A waste product found in the blood. Urea is normally removed from the blood by the kidneys and then excreted in the urine. Urea accumulates in the body of people with kidney failure.

Uremia (yoo-REE-mee-uh): The illness associated with the buildup of urea in the blood because the kidneys are not working effectively. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, and mental confusion.

Urinalysis (yoor-in-AL-ih-sis): A test of a urine sample that can reveal many problems of the urinary system and other body systems. The sample may be observed for color, cloudiness, and concentration; signs of drug use; chemical composition, including sugar; the presence of protein, blood cells, or germs; or other signs of disease.