The kineys are complicated organs that have numerous biological roles. Their primary role is to maintain the homeostatic balance of bodily fluids by filtering and secreting metabolites (such as urea) and minerals from the blood and excreting them, along with water, as urine. Because the kidneys are poised to sense plasma concentrations of ions such as sodium, potassium, hydrogen, oxygen, and compounds such as amino acids, creatine, bicarbonate, and glucose, they are important regulators of blood pressure, glucose metabolism, and erythropoiesis (the process by which red blood cells (erythrocytes) are produced). The medical field that studies the kidneys and diseases of the kidney is called nephrology. The prefix nephro- meaning kidney is from the Ancient Greek word nephros (νεφρός); the adjective renal meaning related to the kidney is from Latin rēnēs, meaning kidneys.