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1 Result for Nephrology near Fort Knox, KY

Nephrology Frequently Asked Questions

What is a nephrologist?

A nephrologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect your kidney. Nephrologists are experts in kidney function who also study how kidney disease can harm other areas of your body.

Your kidneys are involved in several important bodily functions, including:

  • high-blood pressure management through the release of certain hormones
  • waste and excess fluid removal from your blood
  • mineral, water, and electrolyte balancing

What conditions do nephrologists treat?

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Nephrologists diagnose and treat several conditions that affect your kidneys. They also get involved when other health factors contribute to kidney disease and dysfunction, such as:

  • autoimmune diseases: a group of diseases where your immune system attacks your body
  • blood in urine: an indication that you may have an infection, kidney disease, or cancer
  • chronic kidney disease: the gradual and irreversible damage to your kidneys
  • diabetes: a disease that can damage your kidneys, nerves, and other organs
  • glomerulonephritis: a life threatening inflammation of your kidneys’ internal structures
  • heart disease: a group of serious diseases that includes hardening or clogged arteries, weakened muscles, and more
  • high blood pressure (HBP): blood pressure that increases to unhealthy levels and can cause damage to your kidneys and other organs
  • kidney cancer: a type of cancer that originates in or spreads to your kidneys
  • kidney failure: loss of kidney functionality, which allows toxins to build up in your blood
  • kidney stones: solid masses made of crystals form inside your kidneys and urinary tract
  • polycystic kidney disease: an inherited disorder that causes fluid-filled cysts to develop in your kidneys
  • renal artery stenosis: a narrowing of the arteries that provide blood to your kidneys
  • nephrotic syndrome: excess protein in the urine due to kidney damage

What procedures do nephrologists perform?

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Nephrologists will perform different procedures depending on the reason for your visit. For initial visits, your nephrologist may perform diagnostic tests, such as blood tests and urinalysis. Depending on your lab results, a nephrologist may also perform the following procedures:

  • imaging tests of your kidneys, including ultrasounds and X-rays
  • dialysis, which involves a machine that’s used to filter and purify your blood
  • renal biopsies, in which kidney tissue samples are taken for lab analysis
  • kidney transplant, which is a procedure that replaces failing kidneys with healthy ones

When should I contact a nephrologist?

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Usually, your primary care physician will refer you to a nephrologist when they suspect you have kidney-related symptoms that a specialist knows how to treat. Some of the most common reasons for a visit to a nephrologist include chronic urinary tract infections or recurring kidney stones. However, you may need to visit a nephrologist more often if you have:

  • a family history of kidney disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure

What can I expect from a nephrologist appointment?

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You can expect your nephrologist to conduct a standard physical exam during your first appointment. Then your nephrologist will ask questions about any medications you currently take and your family history.

Depending on your symptoms, your nephrologist may also recommend additional tests, such as a urinalysis. They will then discuss your treatment plan and go over recommended medications, lifestyle changes, and future appointments.

What questions should I ask my nephrologist?

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It’s important that you prepare for your appointment with your nephrologist. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of good questions to ask:

  • What were my lab results?
  • What caused my kidney issues or failure?
  • If my kidney condition is chronic, how long will it be before I require dialysis?
  • What type of dialysis do you recommend for my condition?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make now to reduce my risk of kidney failure?
  • How long will my treatment plan take, or how long will it be ongoing?
  • Are there any medications and dietary changes you recommend I make?
  • Will I need a kidney transplant? If so, what are my options?
  • Will I eventually need dialysis?

You may use these questions as a starting point, but feel free to add your own. A good practice is to also ask for additional information and take notes during your appointment.