Urinary System

Fundamental Physiology and Anatomy of the Urinary System

Most people that have any appreciation for the kidneys know that they are important in eliminating body wastes by excretion into urine. That is clearly true, but a bit like saying that Mozart composed music - it doesn't really do justice to the amazing talents that the kidneys bring forward to sustain life.

One good way to gain an appreciation for the diverse functions of the kidneys is to examine the numerous deleterious effects on systemic physiology that occur when they fail. Renal failure can be acute or chronic, but in both cases, there are major disruptions in fluid and electrolyte balance, acid-base balance, regulation of blood pressure, and a host of other critical processes. Although not known with certainty, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, mentioned above, died at age 35, likely of chronic renal disease.

Before we procede, it is worth mentioning that even though the major emphasis placed in this and subsequent pages is on the kidneys (our action hero for the urinary system), we also will discuss other structures such as ureters and bladder.

Core concepts required for understanding digestive structure and function:

Advanced and supplemental information on digestive system structure and function:

Send comments to Richard.Bowen@colostate.edu