Table of Contents
- What is Nephrology?
- What is chronic kidney disease?
- What are the risk factors for chronic kidney diseases?
- What is a nephrologist?
- What is the job of a nephrologist?
- Education and training for nephrologists
- Reasons to visit a nephrologist
- Key takeaways
Because of the many functions of our kidneys and the toxins they filter, these vital organs are prone to diseases that can seriously affect our health. That is why research is so essential in understanding kidney diseases such as chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease. Let’s look at the study of kidneys and what you would call its study.
What is Nephrology?
Nephrology is an internal medicine subspecialty focusing on diagnosing and treating kidney diseases. Because the kidney serves so many functions, nephrologists are experts in primary kidney disorders and managing the systemic consequences of kidney dysfunction.
What is chronic kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease refers to conditions that cause damage to your kidneys and reduce their ability to keep you healthy by filtering wastes from your blood. If your kidney disease worsens, wastes can accumulate dangerously high blood levels, making you sick. You may experience the following complications
- high blood pressure
- anemia (low blood count)
- weak bones
- poor nutritional health
- nerve damage
Kidney disease increases your risk of heart and blood vessel disease. Early detection and treatment can prevent the progression of chronic kidney disease. It can lead to kidney failure, which necessitates dialysis or a transplant to survive.
What are the risk factors for chronic kidney diseases?
Chronic kidney disease can affect people of any age. Some people are more likely than others to develop kidney disease. The following factors increase your risk of kidney disease-
- High blood pressure
- Heart (cardiovascular) disease
- Being Black, Native American, or Asian American
- Family history of kidney disease
- Abnormal kidney structure
- Older age
- Frequent use of medications that can be harmful to the kidneys
What is a nephrologist?
Nephrologists are physicians who specialize in kidney diseases. Kidney problems are rising worldwide, with millions of people undergoing treatment yearly for kidney injury or chronic kidney disease (CKD). Kidney disease is the world’s 12th leading cause of death and the ninth leading cause in the United States.
You can say that 15% of adults in the United States have chronic kidney disease. However, 90% are unaware of it or do not seek treatment from a nephrologist until the disease has progressed to a severe and costly stage.
What is the job of a nephrologist?
A nephrologist is a type of doctor who specializes in kidney diseases. Not only do nephrologists specialize in conditions that affect the kidney, but they also understand how kidney disease or dysfunction can affect other parts of your body.
Although your primary care physician will work with you to prevent and treat the early stages of kidney disease, you may consult a nephrologist to help diagnose and treat more severe or complex kidney conditions.
Education and training for nephrologists
To begin your career as a nephrologist, you must first complete medical school. Medical school is a four-year program that requires a bachelor’s degree before enrollment.
Following your medical degree, you’ll need to complete a three-year residency in internal medicine. A residency program allows new doctors to receive additional training and education in a clinical setting while supervised by more senior clinicians.
Following internal medicine residency, you must complete a two-year fellowship in nephrology. This fellowship enhances the knowledge and clinical skills needed for the specialty. After completing your fellowship, you may sit for an exam to become board-certified in nephrology. You will also need to clear the American Board of Internal Medicine certification exam to be certified in nephrology.
Reasons to visit a nephrologist
The majority of people do not see a nephrologist unless their primary care physician refers them to one. Seeing a nephrologist usually means that you have kidney-related symptoms from an unknown cause or health issues that only a renal specialist can treat. Your doctor may refer you to a nephrologist if you have the following signs or symptoms.
Chronic urinary tract infections
If you have a lot of urinary tract infections (UTIs), usually bladder infections, you are more likely to have the infection spread to your kidneys. You are also at a higher risk of developing kidney disease, permanent kidney damage, or even kidney failure. Chronic UTI symptoms, particularly blood in the urine, fever, and fatigue, can also indicate bladder or kidney cancer in its early stages.
Recurring kidney stones
Kidney stones are mineral- or salt-based deposits within your kidneys that cause significant pain when passing through your urinary tract. If you have a lot of kidney stones, it means your kidneys aren’t filtering waste properly and are allowing deposits to build up.
Kidney stones can also form and begin to block glomerular filtration (a part of the urination process), lowering the filtration rate. Any obstructions can cause kidney damage and lead to chronic kidney disease.
Protein is present in your urine if it is foamy or bubbly. Proteinuria is a condition that can occur due to various factors, some of which are relatively harmless, while others are more likely to cause kidney damage. Your urine typically contains some protein waste, but this protein goes unnoticed. Only when there is a lot of protein in the urine will you notice foam or bubbles.
This protein spillover can occur with other symptoms, such as muscle cramping, shortness of breath, and fatigue. It may indicate more moderate chronic kidney disease or early kidney failure stages. To check your blood and kidneys, your nephrologist will most likely perform blood tests. It may include tests such as blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, and protein-creatinine ratio.
- Nephrology is the medical specialty concerned with the physiology and diseases of the kidneys.
- Chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney failure, is characterized by a progressive loss of kidney function. Advanced chronic kidney disease can result in dangerously high fluid, electrolytes, and wastes in your body.
- You can visit a nephrologist when you have severe kidney problems. The nephrologist is responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease.
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Q1. What is the medical term for the kidney?
Answer- The medical term ‘renal’ refers to the kidney.
Q2. What are the three types of kidney failure?
Answer- You can classify acute renal failure (ARF) into three types- chronic, renal, and postrenal.
Q3. What is the size of a kidney?
Answer- The kidneys are roughly the size of a fist or 10 to 12 cm (about 5 inches).