QQI Level 5 Anatomy and Physiology 5N0749 – Unit 8: The Urinary System Assignment Example
The urinary system is responsible for getting rid of wastes from the body. The system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The urinary system plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis by regulating electrolytes and pH levels as well as balancing fluid volume and blood pressure.
The function of urination is to remove unwanted materials from your body in order to maintain a healthy balance within your urinary tract system. In this unit, you will learn about the normal structure and physiology of these parts, as well as potential problems associated with each part.
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Learning Outcomes of The Urinary System
When you have studied this unit, you will be able to:
Understand the urinary system
The urinary (or renal) system filters waste products out of our blood and excretes them in the form of urine. It is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Urine passes out of our body through the urethra.
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that filter blood and produce urine. Urine passes from the kidneys to the bladder through two tubes called ureters. The bladder is a hollow organ that stores urine until we are ready to pass it out of our body through the urethra.
We can control when we pass urine by contracting or relaxing the muscles in our bladder. This is called urination or voiding.
5 Key Points about the Urinary System:
- The urinary system removes wastes from the body.
- Kidneys filter blood and produce urine that passes into the bladder through two tubes called ureters.
- Bladder stores, and when you are ready, it passes urine out of the body through another tube called the urethra.
- We can control urination by contracting and relaxing the muscles in our bladder.
- The urinary system plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis and balancing fluid volume and blood pressure.
Outline the gross and microscopic (nephron) structure of the kidney
The kidney is a bean-shaped organ that is located on the posterior (back) side of the abdominal cavity. The kidney has two major functions: to filter blood and produce urine, and to maintain homeostasis by regulating electrolytes and pH levels and balancing fluid volume and blood pressure.
- The outer layer of the kidney is called the capsule. This layer is tough and surrounds the outside of the kidney.
- The middle part of the kidney is called the cortex and consists of dense connective tissue containing many capillaries able to filter blood that enters through the renal artery.
- The outer region of the kidney, called the medulla, contains a maze-like arrangement of blood vessels and tubules that help with maintaining homeostasis and regulation pH levels and fluid volume, and blood pressure.
The nephrons are structures in our kidneys that play a major role in urine production – these structures exist within the cortex region – they consist of an initial filtering component (glomerulus) where small molecules such as glycerol, amino acids, glucose, ions are filtered out from larger compounds and a tubule that transports these molecules to the bladder.
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Describe how the kidney manufactures urine
The kidneys produce urine by filtering blood to remove wastes and extra fluids. Approximately 200 quarts of blood pass through our kidneys every day where they filter out about 1 to 2 quarts of urine. Urine contains wastes such as urea, uric acid, salts, water, and fats. Most of this work is done by small units within the kidney called nephrons. Each nephron consists of a glomerulus that filters out waste products from our blood, an initial tubule that helps move other materials found in the filtrate away from the glomerulus, and a final tubule that transports the urine to the bladder.
Steps in urine formation:
- The glomerulus of a nephron filters blood and begins the process by allowing water, ions, glucose, amino acids, and other small molecules to filter out from larger compounds.
- Tubule transports all molecules from the glomerulus to the surrounding tissues – some of these transported materials are returned to blood through a capillary network that surrounds each tubule.
- A mix of materials will be concentrated into urine as it travels along convoluted passageways – urea diffuses out of this mix and is ultimately excreted – more concentration occurs with increased water loss – more substances are added back into this mix as they reabsorb through walls of an adjacent tubule.
- The urine is finally transported to the bladder through the ureters and expelled from the body through the urethra.
Explain the role of the nervous system in micturition (urination)
The nervous system plays a role in controlling when and how much urine is expelled from our bodies. The bladder is a muscle that can be contracted or relaxed by the use of our nervous system. When the bladder is full, it sends a signal to the brain telling it to release urine. The brain then sends a message to the bladder muscles telling them to contract, or “squeeze”, and excrete urine. The process is governed by centers in the brainstem which are influenced by higher parts of our brains that control emotions.
These centers in the brainstem receive stimuli from stretch receptors throughout our urinary tract when our bladder becomes full – this includes sensory neurons in the trigone region of the bladder and sensory neurons in the wall of the urethra.
Inhibitory interneurons from the brainstem release GABA neurotransmitters to relax the bladder muscles when they receive signals from stretch receptors in our urinary tract – this decreases urine production.
When the bladder becomes overfull, sensory neurons send impulses to higher brain centers creating an urge to urinate – we can suppress these sensations with higher brain activity such as concentrating on a task or thinking of something else.
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