SPECIALTY CARE SERVICES nephrology
what is nephrology?
Nephrologists treat systemic conditions affecting kidneys, such as diabetes and autoimmune disease, as well as hypertension (high blood pressure) and electrolyte disturbances. Continuum Healthcare Network Nephrologists are experts in kidney care. Their training includes completion of medical school followed by a residency in internal medicine and then additional specialty training in nephrology. Where are the kidneys located? The human body has two kidneys, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage in the middle of your back, on either side of the spine. What are the functions of the kidneys?The kidneys’ critical functions are to cleanse the blood, maintain a stable balance of salt and minerals, and help regulate blood pressure. This is done through the filtering and removal of waste products and excess fluid through the urine.
Specifically, the kidneys do the following:
- Remove waste products and drugs from the body
- Regulate the body’s salt, potassium, and acid content
- Release hormones that regulate blood pressure
- Produce hormones that promote strong, healthy bones
- Control the production of red blood cells
on-site SPECIALTY CARE nephrology TELEMEDICINE SERVICES
Dedicated Continuum Healthcare Network staff will coordinate the entire referral process. We offer on-site health concierge which offers full-service care for your patients. We offer customizable care — delivering primary care and specialty services — to your patients on-site.
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Tests and procedures a nephrologist might perform or order
Blood testsGlomerular filtration rate (GFR). This test measures how well your kidneys are filtering your blood. GFR begins to decrease below normal levels in kidney disease.Serum creatinine. Creatinine is a waste product and is present at higher levels in the blood of people with kidney dysfunction.Blood urea nitrogen (BUN). As with creatinine, finding high levels of this waste product in the blood is a sign of kidney dysfunction. Urine testsUrinalysis. This urine sample can be tested with a dipstick for pH as well as the presence of abnormal amounts of blood, glucose, protein, or bacteria.Albumin/creatinine ratio (ACR). This urine test measures the amount of the protein albumin in your urine. Albumin in the urine is a sign of kidney dysfunction.24-hour urine collection. This method uses a special container to collect all of the urine that you produce during a 24-hour period. Further testing can be performed on this sample.Creatinine clearance. This is a measure of creatinine from both a blood sample and a 24-hour urine sample that’s used to calculate the amount of creatinine that’s exited the blood and moved to the urine. ProceduresIn addition to reviewing and interpreting the results of your laboratory tests, a nephrologist may also perform or work with other specialists on the following procedures:
imaging tests of the kidneys, such as ultrasounds, CT scans, or X-raysdialysis, including placement of the dialysis catheterkidney biopsieskidney transplants
Conditions a nephrologist treats
- blood or protein in the urine
- chronic kidney disease
- kidney stones, although a urologist may also treat this
- kidney infections
- kidney swelling due to glomerulonephritis or interstitial nephritis
- kidney cancer
- polycystic kidney disease
- hemolytic uremic syndrome
- renal artery stenosis
- nephrotic syndrome
- end-stage kidney disease
- kidney failure, both acute and chronic
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- autoimmune conditions, such as lupus
When to see a nephrologist?
Regular testing can monitor your kidney function, particularly if you’re at risk for kidney disease. These groups include people with:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- a family history of kidney problems
Your doctor may also refer you to a nephrologist if you have any of the following:
- advanced chronic kidney disease
- large amounts of blood or protein in your urine
- recurring kidney stones, though you may also be referred to a urologist for this
- high blood pressure that’s still high even though you’re taking medications
- a rare or inherited cause of kidney disease