The Pancreas

The pancreas is a slender gland located between your stomach and spinal cord on the left side of the abdomen. This gland has two major functions. The first is to regulate your blood sugar by making insulin and glucagon. The second is the production of a digestive enzyme that is secreted into the small intestine (bowel) to help with digestion. If you have diabetes mellitus Type I, it means that your pancreas cannot make enough insulin to regulate your blood sugar.

The kidneys are located on either side of the spine at about waist level. They are about the size of your fist and adult kidneys weigh about four to six ounces each. The kidneys perform several critical functions, including:

  • Filtering the blood to remove waste products such as nitrogen and creatinine that can become toxic if left to accumulate
  • Removing excess fluid that can accumulate around the heart and lungs
  • Returning nutrients to the blood stream
  • Producing a substance that helps regulate blood pressure
  • Producing a substance that is necessary for red blood cell production and prevents anemia (low blood count)
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