At doctors appointment physician shows to patient shape of kidney with focus on hand with organ. Scene explaining patient causes and localization of diseases of kidney, stones, adrenal, urinary system

After completing medical school and a residency, nephrologists train for two more years to give them the additional knowledge they need to treat kidney problems for people whose kidneys are functionally impaired or failing. Some nephrologists specialize specifically in kidney transplants. Nephrologists practice in individual or group office, at hospitals and in dialysis centers.

If kidney problems are caught early, lifestyle changes and medications may be enough to stop additional damage to them. For late-stage kidney disease patients, a nephrologist may recommend dialysis or a kidney transplant. A transplant nephrologist will perform the surgery. Nephrologists often know about high blood pressure and may be able to help patients lower it. Two other diseases they work with are nephrotic syndrome and polycystic kidney disease.

  • Nephrotic syndrome: Protein leakage into the urine.
  • Polycystic kidney disease: Cyst growth in the kidneys that can cause side or back pain, an enlarged stomach, bloody urine and (if they grow too big) kidney damage and failure. The cysts are filled with fluid.

Diagnosis of kidney problems is made using tests and renal imaging. Care can often be interdisciplinary and may need a team approach to get the best possible outcome.


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