Nephrology


Pelvis | Nephrology (Medicine Field)


Description

Nephrology is the medical subspecialty that deals with the kidneys, especially their functions and diseases.

Specialization

A nephrologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diseases of the kidney. Kidneys have multiple vital functions, including: removing the waste from the body in the form of urine, helping to regulate blood pressure and the balance of certain important nutrients, including potassium and calcium, filter toxins from the blood. Kidneys are essentially blood-cleansing organs.

Symptoms and Diseases

An artery from the heart brings blood into the kidneys to be cleaned by nephrons. The nephrons filter out toxins, excess nutrients and body fluid and excrete them in the form of urine into the bladder. The remaining cleaned and filtered blood then passes through veins back into circulation. If both kidneys stop functioning due to disease, patients experience end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or total kidney failure. Many diseases affecting the kidney are systemic disorders not limited to the organ itself, and may require special treatment.

Examples include acquired conditions such as systemic vasculitides (e. g. ANCA vasculitis) and autoimmune diseases (e. g. lupus), as well as congenital or genetic conditions such as polycystic kidney disease. Unless those experiencing kidney failure are treated, they can die within days due to the build-up of toxins and fluid in their blood.

Diagnosis, Treatment and Benefits

Chronic kidney disease usually causes no symptoms in its early stages. Only lab tests can detect any developing problems. Anyone at increased risk for chronic kidney disease should be routinely tested for development of this disease. Types of tests include urine, blood, and imaging tests (X-rays), used to detect kidney disease, as well as to follow its progress. All of these tests have limitations. They are often used together to develop a picture of the nature and extent of the kidney disease.

Kidney failure means that the body can no longer rid itself of certain toxins and cannot properly regulate blood. When kidneys stop working, dialysis is the life-saving process that artificially replaces the functions of the kidney. However, several important dietary rules can be followed to help slow the progression of kidney disease and decrease the likelihood of complications, such as: protein restriction, salt restriction, fluid intake, potassium restriction, phosphorus restriction. Other important measures include: carefully follow prescribed regimens to control your blood pressure and/or diabetes, stop smoking, lose excess weight. ...