What is Nephrology?

Patient Education

 
 

Nephrology is the sub-specialty of medicine concerned with disorders of the kidney and blood pressure. A Nephrologist is a physician who has been trained in the general specialty of internal medicine and then sub-specialized in the field of nephrology. Our practice of nephrology offers evaluation and treatment in adults for the following disorders:

  1. High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  2. All types of kidney diseases, including: 
  • Blood in the urine (Hematuria)
  •  Protein in the urine (Proteinuria)
  • Infection of the kidneys or bladder
  • Nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys)
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Kidney stones

   3. Treatment of complete kidney failure, including:

  • Hemodialysis
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Kidney transplantation

 


Anemia

If you have kidney problems, you may feel extremely tired and weak.  If you have been especially tired, you may have a condition called anemia.  Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. 

Symptoms of anemia include: 

  • Tiredness 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Muscle pain when exercising 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Depression 
  • Dizziness

Our kidneys play many roles in our overall health. One of the things they do is produce a hormone called erythropoietin.  This hormone signals the bone marrow to make more red blood cells when we run low.  If your kidneys are struggling to filter the blood, they have a harder time sending the hormone signals to the bone marrow, and you can become anemic. There are a number of ways to treat anemia including medications and blood transfusions.  

The following terms relate to anemia:

  • Hematocrit (HCT): A way of measuring the red cell content of the blood. Measured as a percentage of the total blood volume.
  • Hemoglobin (Hgb): The part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen throughout the body.  Hb is measured on grams (g) per deciliter (dL)
  • Erythropoietin (EPO): The hormone usually produced in the kidneys to stimulate red blood cell production.
  • Fatigue: Extreme weakness, exhaustion, or tiredness. Can be a symptom of anemia. 

Nutrition and Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

The kidneys perform many important jobs to keep the body healthy. These jobs include: getting rid of wastes and excess fluid, balancing fluids and certain chemicals in the body, removing drugs and toxins from the body and releasing important hormones that help make red blood cells, regulate blood pressure and keep the bones healthy. The goal of your treatment is to slow or prevent your kidney disease from getting worse. DIET is an important part of your treatment plan. In fact, your diet may change depending on how much kidney function you have. Making changes in the foods you eat may help slow further kidney damage. Certain nutrients such as protein, calories, sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and fluid may need to be adjusted to meet your changing needs.

Remember, diet is an important part of CKD. Ask you Nephrologist what diet is right for you.