One of the main jobs of the kidney is to regulate the salt (sodium chloride) and water content of the body, that is, the salt and water balance. It is not surprising, therefore, that patients with kidney disease have problems regulating the balance of salt and water, problems that become more troublesome as renal insufficiency gets more severe. In patients on dialysis, for example, who have little or no kidney function remaining, the regulation of salt and water balance becomes critical and must be watched very closely. Even people who have some residual kidney function are at risk to retain salt and water together (or separately; see below), which can cause the heart to fail.
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