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What is Nephrology (Kidney)?

Nephrology is the branch of medicine and pediatrics that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases together with hypertension and electrolyte disturbances. Under this branch, the study and treatment of kidney problems and renal replacement therapy take place.

Nephrology also involves the studies of systemic conditions affecting the kidneys and systemic problems arising out of kidney problems. A nephrologist or renal physician is one who has specialization and training to be an expert in Nephrology.

Types of diseases in Nephrology

There are many types of diseases related to kidneys, including:

Acute Kidney Injury: – In this type, kidney function is quickly lost due to electrolyte and acid-base disturbances. 

Glomerular Disease: – A type where the kidney’s ability to filter blood is affected.

Chronic Kidney Disease: – This type involves kidney diseases that persist for a long.

End Stage Kidney Disease: – A type where the failed kidney is treated via replacement. 

Advanced Hypertension: – A type where kidney cases arising out of high blood pressure are dealt with.

Kidney Stones: – A type where stones in the kidney are treated. 

Kidney Transplant: – A type where a kidney from a donor is implanted in the receiver. 

Signs and Symptoms to see a Nephrologists

There are some signs or symptoms which inform one to see a Nephrologist, like:-

  • Cases of acute renal failure
  • Sudden loss of kidney functions
  • Cases of chronic kidney disease  
  • Presence of blood in the urine
  • Presence of proteins in urine
  • Presence of casts and crystals in the urine
  • Kidney stones  
  • High blood pressure
  • Acid-base imbalance  
  • Cancers of the kidneys
  • Cancers of the urinary bladder
  • Diabetic kidney disease and Renal blood vessel disease

Treatment in Nephrology

There are five different methods of treatment in nephrology

  • Medications
  • Blood products
  • Surgical interventions
  • Renal replacement therapy
  • Plasma exchange 

There is a combination of treatments for chronic kidney disease where the first stage is to treat causative conditions. It also involves the prevention of substances toxic to the kidneys and antihypertensives.

End-stage kidney failure involves modifications of diet and weight apart from some planning. More so, some agents and immunosuppression are the ways used to treat auto-immune and inflammatory kidney disease. Blood products and plasma exchange are other treatment options for kidney diseases. Renal replacement therapy would be needed to prevent the kidney from failure. Dialysis and Renal transplantation are other treatment options for kidney disorders or diseases.

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