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What is nephrology? 

Nephrology is the specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases, including electrolyte disturbances and hypertension, and the care of those requiring renal replacement therapy, including dialysis and kidney transplant patients.

Many diseases affecting the kidney are systemic disorders not limited to the organ itself, and may require special treatment.

When you should see a nephrologist?

Nephrologists treat a large array of renal disorders such as:

  • Glomerular disorders:  the filtering system in the kidney, the glomerulus, is not functioning properly
  • Urine abnormalities: excess excretion of sugar, blood, protein, crystals, etc.
  • Tubulointerstitial diseases: disorders that affect the tubules in the kidneys
  • Renal vascular disease
  • Renal failure, either acute or chronic
  • Kidney and bladder stones
  • Kidney infections
  • Kidney, urethra or bladder cancer
  • Dialysis and its complications
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, vasculitis
  • Effects of other diseases like high blood pressure or diabetes

Common treatments and tests

In diagnosing kidney disease there are various methods through which consultant nephrologists can find the issue. Some of the standard tests carried for diagnosis are:

  • Physical examination (fluid overload due to kidney failure will lead to a swelling in the legs and the face)
  • Blood tests
  • Urine analysis
  • Ultrasound scanning
  • Renal biopsy
  • Intravenous urography

During a nephrology consultation the consultant will conduct the required tests depending on the symptoms presented.

Treatment depends on the type of kidney disease and its severity, but many disorders can be treated through medication. If the kidney is in a final stage of disease or it has reached renal failure, dialysis will be required in order to clear the blood of waste products. Patients can opt for haemodialysis, an external device or artificial kidney to which the patient is connected, or for peritoneal dialysis. For this type of dialysis patients get a catheter inserted in the abdomen or peritoneal cavity, which will assist the renal function.

How can BMI Healthcare help?

BMI Healthcare offers you fast, direct and convenient appointments with a consultant specialising nephrology. Your consultant may be able to reassure you that what you are experiencing is nothing to be concerned about or they can discuss treatment options that could relieve your symptoms so you can return to enjoying your life.

Together, you and your consultant can decide the best route for you and develop a tailor made treatment package to achieve optimum results.