When Should I See a Nephrologist?

A nephrologist, well known as a kidney doctor, specializes in providing kidney care as well as treating kidney diseases. Nephrologists are specifically trained in kidney transplant, dialysis treatment, and managing a wide spectrum of kidney diseases. Deveraj Munikrishnappa, M.D provides high quality care to kidney disease patients and has remarkably excellent standards in nephrology.

Some of the diseases treated by a nephrologist are:

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure that has been difficult to control is manageable with the help of your nephrologist.

Kidney Disease

If your kidneys have suffered damage over time, you are at higher risk to suffer kidney disease. The symptoms may not be severe until much later when the disease is advanced. Early consultation with a nephrologist enables early diagnosis of the disease. Lifestyle changes and medications may avoid more damage to your kidneys.

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is an advanced stage of kidney disease. A kidney transplant or dialysis can be recommended by your nephrologist. Should that be the case, you will keep seeing your nephrologist for a while even after the kidney transplant is over.

What is the Need for Early Referral in Kidney Complications?

Progression of kidney damages and end-stage renal disease can be slowed if the damage is detected early. Early referral of kidney disease patients is achieved through better communication between primary healthcare givers and nephrologists.

Stage 1 chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by kidney damage with glomerular filtration rate at a normal level of 90 ml/min. There are rarely any symptoms that indicate kidney damage. The damage may go unnoticed for a long time since kidneys will deliver even when they are not functioning at their best.

The early stages of kidney complications are commonly diagnosed in the following ways:

  • Imaging tests such as MRI or CT scan
  • Blood (serum) test
  • Urinalysis

If you are diagnosed with stage 1 kidney disease, your blood is likely to show higher than normal levels of:

  • Creatinine  – a muscle metabolism waste product
  • Urea – a protein metabolism end product
  • Albumin – a water-soluble globular protein

The difference between stage 1 kidney disease and end-stage renal disease is considerable. That, however, does not mean that a stage 1 diagnosis should be ignored. Your nephrologist addresses manageable risk factors that can be solved through lifestyle changes.

Advantages of Early Nephrologist Consultation

Consulting a nephrologist early enough contributes to better outcomes since the main focus is on preventing more severe stages. Late consultation results in greater chances of unplanned dialysis initiation, reduced access to kidney transplantation or compromised long-term survival.

Early nephrologist consultation is associated with lower morbidity. You also get to enjoy shorter hospital stays, minimal use of dialysis catheters, and reduced treatment costs.

What to Expect on Your First Nephrology Appointment

At your first appointment, you will:

  • Have your medical history reviewed
  • Have your weight and blood pressure checked
  • Undergo a physical exam to check your heart and your legs for any swelling
  • Undergo a blood test to check your kidney function
  • Leave your urine sample to check for blood, protein, or infection
  • Discuss your next appointment, diet recommendations, and any changes in your medication