Med-Surg - Renal System, part 1: Introduction, Components and Functions

by Cathy Parkes December 03, 2021 Updated: August 09, 2023 3 min read

Full Transcript

Hi, I'm Cathy with LevelUpRN. This is the first video in our Med Surg Nursing Renal System playlist. Throughout this playlist I will be following along with our LevelUpRN medical surgical nursing flashcards. You don't need these cards to get value out of this playlist, but they can certainly help. If you do have our cards, be sure to pay close attention to the bold red text because those items represent the most important points you need to know about the subject. At the end of this video and at the end of all the videos in this playlist, I will be giving you guys a little quiz, a little knowledge check to test your understanding of some of the key points I'll be covering in this video. So definitely stay tuned for that. In this video and the next video, I will be doing an anatomy and physiology review of the renal system, which I find is really important and helpful. If you can understand how a body system is supposed to work, like how the kidneys are supposed to work, then you can think critically about what signs and symptoms you would expect to occur if something were to go wrong with that body system. So I hope this review will be helpful for you.
Components of the renal system include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The kidneys have many important functions in the body, including maintenance of proper fluid volume, as well as regulation of electrolyte levels and acid base balance in the blood. The kidneys eliminate waste products such as urea, uric acid, ammonia, and creatinine. The kidneys also regulate blood pressure through the release of renin, and they enable red blood cell production through the release of erythropoietin. And then they convert vitamin D to its active form, which is essential for the absorption of calcium. So in order for calcium to be absorbed, we need vitamin D and in order for vitamin D to be activated, we need the kidneys. Here's an illustration of a nephron which you could find in our medical surgical nursing flashcard deck. So the nephron is the functional unit of the kidney and it is responsible for urine formation. Each nephron consists of a glomerulus, which is surrounded by the Bowman's capsule, as well as tubular structures.
So blood will enter the nephron through the afferent arteriole, and the glomerulus will filter that blood at a rate of about 125 milliliters per minute. Now, when we talk about chronic kidney disease, you will see that that GFR will be greatly decreased as we progress with that chronic kidney disease. So nonfilterable components will exit the glomerulus through the efferent arteriole. So Nonfilterable components may include proteins and blood cells. Then the part that can be filtered, so the glomerular filtrate will move on through these tubular structures, which include the proximal convoluted tubule, as well as the loop of Hennelly and the distal convoluted tubule to the collecting duct. So as it moves through these tubular structures, water, electrolytes, and other substances are either reabsorbed into circulation or excreted into the urine. And you'll notice we have our little cool chicken hint here, which shows up quite a bit in our flash cards. Afferent approaches the nephron and efferent exits the nephron.
All right, it's time for quiz. I have three questions for you. First question, what is the functional unit of the kidney? The answer is the nephron. Question number two, the kidneys enable red blood cell production through the release of blank? The answer is erythropoietin. Question number three, the kidneys convert blank to its active form, which allows for the absorption of calcium? The answer is vitamin D. Okay, that's it for this video. In my next video, we will continue our anatomy and physiology review of the renal system.

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