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What is nephrology

Nephrology is the branch of medicine that focuses on studying and treating disorders and diseases associated with the kidneys. Other conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes can also adversely affect the kidneys.  A physician who specializes in nephrology is known as a nephrologist. They work with other healthcare providers in both inpatient and outpatient settings (such as hospitals and renal dialysis centers) to deliver kidney care.

Examples of conditions that are treated by a nephrologist are:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Glomerulonephritis 
  • Kidney stones
  • Nephrotic syndrome

Some of the common signs and symptoms associated with disorders of the kidneys are:

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the arms, legs, hands, feet
  • Nausea
  • Increased urge to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Itchy skin
  • Cramps

Nephrologists perform a variety of tests and procedures to investigate and treat disorders of the kidneys such as:

  • Blood and urine tests – Creatinine, glomerular filtration rate (GFR), albumin creatinine ratio (ACR), creatinine clearance
  • Imaging tests – Ultrasound, X-ray
  • Kidney biopsy 
  • Dialysis
  • Kidney transplant

Why is nephrology important in healthcare?

The number of people with kidney problems around the world is continually rising, and kidney disease remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Nephrology usually employs a multi-disciplinary team made up of specialists who can provide coordinated care and state-of-art treatment options to support people living with kidney-related problems.