What to Know About Solitary Kidney

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Update Date 12/05/2020 . 2 mins read

The kidneys play a vital role in your body. The kidneys carry out a number of necessary functions, so basically without kidneys, the body cannot survive. The kidneys take part in:

  • The production of hormones that are needed to maintain strong bones
  • The regulation of blood pressure
  • Filtering waste and extra fluids from the blood

What is a Solitary Kidney?

Most of us are born with a pair of kidneys. However, some have only one single kidney, or one working kidney. This is called a solitary kidney.

Causes of a Solitary Kidney

A solitary kidney can be caused by:

  • Birth defect. A baby is born with one kidney if he or she has kidney agenesis. The condition is common in men, and the left kidney is often the missing one. There is also kidney dysplasia, a condition in which a baby is born with two kidneys, but one does not work. You can still lead a normal life with one kidney, so kidney agenesis or kidney dysplasia is hardly to be found until you have a test such as ultrasound or x-ray.
  • Surgical removal of a kidney. In some cases, your kidney must be removed to treat your cancer or because of some disease or injury. The removal of kidney as a result of cancer or disease or for donation means that both of the ureter and kidney are removed.
  • Kidney donation. There are more and more people donating a kidney for transplantation into a family member or a friend who suffer from kidney failure.


In general, with only one kidney, you can still live a normal, healthy life. But a healthy lifestyle should always be the first priority in order to protect the kidney as much as possible. There are still, nevertheless, some people facing increased risks of some kidney function loss later in life. People with a solitary kidney should also watch out for:

  • Proteinuria occurs when there is an excessive level of protein in the urine; this may signify kidney damage. People who have a solitary kidney are usually encountered with above average levels of protein in the urine.
  • High Blood Pressure. Kidneys have the ability to control the amount of fluid flowing through the blood and generate renin, a hormone related to the expansion and contraction of the blood vessels. These functions help you to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Therefore, having only one kidney may put you at risk of having increased blood pressure.
  • Reduced GFR (glomerular filtration rate). There are thousands and thousands of very small filtering tubes, known as nephrons residing in the kidneys. The first part of a nephron is the glomerulus whose function is to separate molecules and blood cells from fluids and toxins. The process is called glomerular filtration rate. To see how effectively your kidneys work, you have to take some measurement. Reduced GFR usually occurs among people with one kidney.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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