Nephrology is the branch of internal medicine dealing with the study of the function and diseases of the kidney . The wordnephrology is derived from the Greek word nephros,which means "kidney", and the suffix -ology, or "study of".
Scope of the specialism
Most diseases affecting the kidney are not limited to the organ itself, but aresystemic disorders. Nephrology concerns itself with the diagnosis of kidney disease and its treatment ( medication , dialysis ), and follow-up of renal transplant patients. Giventhat most renal conditions are chronic , nephrologists "grow withtheir patients".
Who sees a nephrologist?
Patients are referred to nephrology specialists for various different reasons, such as :
As with the rest of medicine , important clues as to the cause of any symptom aregained in the history and physical examination.
Laboratory tests are almost always aimed at: urea , creatinine , electrolytes , calcium and phosphate levels, erythrocyte sedimentation rate , C-reactive protein and urinalysis . Collection of a 24-hour sample of urine can give valuableinformation on the concentrating capacity of the kidney and the amount of protein loss in some forms of kidney disease.
Other tests often performed by nephrologists are:
Many kidney diseases are treated with medication , such as steroids , DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumaticdrugs), antihypertenstives (many kidney diseases feature hypertension ). Often erythropoietin and vitamin D treatment is required to replace these two hormones, the production of whichstagnates in chronic renal disease.
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