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What nephrologists do
Nephrologists diagnose and treat kidney diseases, including both the conditions these diseases can produce — such as hypertension — as well as diseases that can cause kidney failure — such as diabetes mellitus and polycystic kidney disease.
What Is Nephrology?
Nephrology is a branch of medicine that safeguards the health of kidneys. It deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to kidney functioning. The medical problems which fall within the competence of nephrology include hypertension, electrolyte disturbances, dialysis, renal replacement therapy, and renal transplantation recovery.
A large number of the medical conditions which damage kidneys belong to systemic diseases. It means these diseases affect not just kidneys on their own and hence demand the multimodality therapy. Among such diseases, it’s possible to distinguish polycystic kidney disease, lupus, ANCA vasculitis as well as other genetic diseases, congenital diseases, autoimmune diseases, and systemic vasculitis disorders.
Nephrology is also engaged in studying how the kidney abnormalities may change the functions of the other vital bodily functions and systems and provides the recommendations how to prevent this.
When to Visit a Nephrologist?
Both the family physician and emergency doctor can send you to a nephrologist after the assessment of the symptoms you experience. These symptoms may range from mild and moderate to acute and chronic. There are the following symptoms which indicate a kidney dysfunction:
- Unexplained body weight reduction
- Decrease in urine output provided that it’s not an outcome of dehydration
- Painful joint swelling and stiffness
- Feet, ankle, and leg swelling
- Blood in urine
- Unreasonable blood pressure fluctuations
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle weakness and numbness
- Decrease in appetite and taste sensations
- Itchy sensation
- Sudden loss of renal function
- Acute kidney failure
- Urinary tract infections
A primary healthcare provider may recommend you the appointment to a nephrologist if you suffer from a disease that raises the probability of kidney disorder development. The visit to a nephrologist is also a must if you are in a risk group of people who are prone to the kidney diseases.
Risk Factors for Kidney Disease
Kidney diseases may pose a serious threat to your health and life even long before their symptoms become apparent. There are some factors which substantially increase your chances of suffering from kidney medical conditions. The key risk factors include:
- Metabolic disorders, primarily diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart diseases including congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease
- Vascular medical conditions including peripheral vascular disease and cerebrovascular disease
- Availability of family members, suffering from kidney diseases
- Long-term intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example Celebrex and Ibuprofen.
If you already have some kidney medical conditions, you have to very carefully approach the choice of medications, fat burners, and other remedies of both natural and artificial origin. You should take them only after the nephrologist’s approval.
What Is Kidney Disease?
Kidneys are a pair of organs, resembling beans by shape. They are located under the lower part of the rib cage, one on the left side and one on the right side of the backbone.
Kidneys are the extremely crucial organs on which the body’s ability to function and live depends. The matter is that these organs are a kind of a filtration system, removing the waste products and toxins from the body before they start poisoning blood and all other vital organs. It means that the kidneys detox the body during urination. The kidneys take an important part in regulating the levels of vitamins, minerals, salt, and pH in the human body. Also, these organs participate in the production of hormones involved in the maintenance of blood pressure within its normal range and safeguard the healthy synthesis of red blood cells.
Kidney disease develops if the functions of these organs is impaired. This impairment may be a result of diabetes, cardiology conditions such as high blood pressure, and different chronic diseases. In its turn, the kidney disease provokes the occurrence of many other comorbidities such as bone fragility, nerve injury, and nutrient deficiency. At the present moment, the statistics tells that no less than 26 million American adult population suffers from the kidney disease.
If the kidney disease is left unattended, the kidneys may fully lose their ability to function. If the renal failure happens, a person’s life will become impossible without dialysis. Though dialysis is not a treatment, it can make the patient’s life longer.
Types of Kidney Disease
It’s possible to distinguish the following most frequently-occurring kidney disease types.
Chronic Kidney Diseases
It’s the most widespread type of kidney disease which typically makes the kidney function to diminish year after year without any visible improvement. This disorder is usually the result of a high blood pressure which very negatively affects the glomeruli.
The latter ones are responsible for the kidney’s body detoxing ability. The intake of high-quality natural appetite suppressants can’t aggravate chronic kidney disease.
Many patients face the issue of kidney stones which are as a rule comprised of minerals undergoing crystallization in the kidneys. The body removes kidney stones with urine but this process causes enormously severe pain.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
This is a genetic medical condition that implies the growth of multiple cysts in the kidneys. Such cysts don’t let the kidneys perform their functions properly and may lead to the kidney failure.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are the type of bacterial infectious disease. Such infections may afflict virtually each part of the urinary tract. Bladder and urethra suffer from infections most often.
These infections are usually curable without any problems and can’t seriously affect the patient’s health. But if there is no adequate treatment, the infections may reach the kidneys and provoke renal failure.