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Nephrology is the medical subspecialty that deals with the kidneys, especially their functions and diseases. A nephrologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diseases of the kidney.
Kidneys are essentially blood-cleansing organs. Your kidneys serve several vital functions, including:
- Remove waste from the body in the form of urine
- Filter toxins from the blood
- Help to regulate blood pressure and the balance of certain important nutrients, including potassium and calcium.
Nephrology is a subspecialty of internal medicine that deals with medical diseases of the kidney. The kidneys are essentially blood-cleansing organs the filter blood and remove excess waste products and water from your body. They also serve the function of regulating blood pressure as well as electrolytes like sodium, potassium and calcium.
Kidney problems can manifest with blood or protein in the urine and abnormal blood levels of BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) or creatinine. Many patients may not realize that they have kidney disease since it does not typically manifest with pain or urinary symptoms. Many patients will primarily recognize symptoms of fatigue, high blood pressure, reduced appetite or lower extremity swelling.
The most common reason for kidney problems in this country is Diabetes Mellitus and Hypertension. These diseases develop inflammatory or autoimmune diseases in the kidney and require special treatments with immunosuppressive drugs to help treat their kidney problem. If the kidneys eventually fail, a patient will have to consider kidney replacement therapy.
Kidney replacement options include dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis is a life-saving process that artificially replaces the functions of the kidney. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis involves removing blood from the body and filtering out waste products and water using a machine. Peritoneal dialysis is internal or in-body dialysis, where fluid is exchanged into the abdominal cavity and the blood is cleansed. Our nephrologists are trained in both forms of dialysis and can educate you on the options that are available to you.
Since the kidney is involved in blood pressure regulation, we also see patients who have difficulty controlling their blood pressure. Electrolyte imbalance can also be another area of medicine that we can help in the establishment of a diagnosis and treatment options.