Nephrology is a specialty of internal medicine that studies kidney function and disease.
A nephrologist is a general practitioner who specializes in kidney problems; his competence includes the treatment of such diseases as glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis, urolithiasis, polycystic kidney disease, renal failure. It is this specialist who observes patients after a kidney transplant.
Nephrology also includes the study of systemic conditions that affect the kidneys such as diabetes, autoimmune and systemic diseases resulting from kidney disease (hypertension or hypothyroidism).
Nephrology covers a wide range of medical disciplines, including:
- Causes and diagnosis of kidney disease
- Kidney transplant
- Preserving kidney function
- Study of normal kidney function
- Treatment of acute or chronic kidney disease
When it is necessary to contact a nephrologist
Nephrology counseling is usually important when there is evidence of kidney damage or disease. For example, patients are often referred to a nephrologist after urinalysis reveals abnormalities such as hematuria (blood in the urine), proteinuria (excess protein in the urine), electrolyte imbalance, or urine pH.
Kidney disease is classified as acute or chronic:
Acute kidney damage (AKI) is a sudden loss of kidney function that develops within seven days. Symptoms vary depending on the underlying cause, but may include rapid onset of fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, nausea, vomiting, increased thirst, heart rhythm disturbances, side pain and rash. This disease is short, rapidly progressing and in need of emergency care.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over months or years. Symptoms may be absent in the early stages. Later, fatigue, leg swelling, muscle cramps, vomiting, loss of appetite, persistent itching, chest pain, shortness of breath, or confusion may develop.
Since the kidneys perform a lot of critical functions in the body, nephrologists usually focus on primary kidney diseases, that is, those that arise in these important organs.
- –Acute renal failure
- –Chronic renal failure
- –Diabetic nephropathy
- –Essential hypertension
- –Glomerular disease (glomerulonephritis)
- –Hypertension during pregnancy
- –Malignant hypertension
- –Nephrology intensive care
- –Orthostatic hypertension
- –Pediatric kidney disease
- –Polycystic kidney disease
- –Post transplantation hypertension
- –Primary aldosteronism
- –Renal artery stenosis
- –Renal parenchymal disease
- –Renovascular hypertension
- –Resistant hypertension
- –Secondary hypertension