Can a Person Live a Normal Life With Just One Kidney?

Generally, a person can live a normal, healthy life with one kidney, according to the National Kidney Foundation. A person born with one working kidney experiences greater risk for high blood pressure and reduced kidney function later in life. The same risks apply to people who lose kidneys during childhood, though these risks are not severe in either case.

People with single kidneys must take extra precautions to protect their remaining kidney, says the National Kidney Foundation. Some physicians discourage these individuals from engaging in contact sports such as football, boxing and martial arts. Protective gear and padding can reduce the kidney risks associated with these sports. Individuals with only one kidney should have it checked for functionality at least once a year. Kidneys are commonly removed to treat serious diseases such as cancer. A person might lose a kidney by donating a kidney to an ill individual in need of a transplant.

Kidneys are crucial organs that filter roughly 30 to 37 gallons of blood each day, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Every day, the kidneys filter waste and extra fluid into 1 or 2 quarts of excreted urine. Essentially, kidneys regulate sodium, pottasium and phosphate in the human body. Healthy kidneys also regulate blood pressure and produce red blood cells.