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Who Is A Nephrologist?
If your family doctor tells you that you need to go to a nephrologist: That means that it is time to go to a kidney doctor.
Nephrologists are experts in kidney care. Without kidneys you cannot live, because your kidney regulate fundamental metabolic functions within the human body. Nephrologists are experts at making sure your kidneys continue to perform at their optimum levels by focusing on the following:
1. Hypertension: Hypertension is another name for “high blood pressure.” If a person has high blood pressure that is difficult to control, a nephrologist gets involved and gets the blood pressure back down to where it should be. Why is that important? Because if hypertension is left untreated over time it will lead to Chronic Kidney Disease
2. Kidney dialysis:  Nephrologists make every possible effort to prevent kidney damage from progressing to a advanced stage where kidney dialysis is needed. However, sometimes this is inevitable. If kidney damage does occur, then the Nephrologists are the only qualified specialists who will provide the various forms of kidney dialysis treatment needed.
3. Electrolyte Disorders:  The kidneys do a lot in terms of their function (than just removing water). The yellow tint in your urine is made up of electrolytes and toxins. Nephrologists are experts in dealing with electrolyte problems, such as, salt and water regulation and potassium balance. That is why if your doctor tells you to eat fruits and vegetables with high or low potassium or puts you on a water pill, it's to help regulate your sodium, potassium or  other electrolyte abnormality. Nephrologists are comprehensively involved with their patients and are experts in treating a number of these disorders.
4. Kidney Stones:  As kidney doctors, Nephrologists often deal with kidney stones. How are Nephrologists different from Urologists?   Urologists are surgeons of the urogenital tract, which may involve removing kidney stones. However, Nephrologists focus on the metabolic (or the medicine) portion of the kidney stone including why they are forming, why they are recurring and what can be done to eliminate them to prevent kidney damage
Nephrology is an aspect of medicine that concentrates on diseases of the kidney. A nephrologist is a doctor who studies the function of kidney disease and treats diseases of the kidneys.
The following Frequently Asked Questions below are referenced from www.renal.org. For additional information or to learn more, visit our Resources page.
Who needs a nephrologist?
The following are symptoms that could prompt a person to see a nephrologist:  
  • Blood or protein present in urine
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Kidney stones
  • Electrolyte disorder
  • Fluid retention
  • Abnormal kidney function tests or blood work
What happens during a visit to the nephrologist?
The nephrologist will look at your medical history and ask questions about any signs or symptoms you are currently experiencing to get a picture of your entire health. You will be given a physical exam and have tests done, which may include a urinalysis, urine culture, blood test, X-ray, sonogram and/or kidney biopsy. 
What treatment can I expect from a nephrologist?
Kidney disease develops through five stages. A nephrologist will plan a suitable course of treatment for the stage you are in. The early stages of kidney disease may be treated with a healthy kidney-friendly diet, exercise and medicine that bring high blood pressure and diabetes under control.
A moderate stage of kidney disease may call for a diet and exercise plan as well as medication and monitoring. Any medications you currently take that may contribute to kidney inflammation are likely to be reviewed and removed, or one medication may be switched to another that has less negative impact on the kidneys. The dosage of some medications may be decreased because of reduced kidney function. Kidney specialists are experts in the nutritional requirements of their patients and will refer you to a dietitian who specializes in medical nutrition therapy for kidney patients. A kidney diet is a specialized food plan that can be a great help in managing your CKD.
In stage five CKD, also known as end stage renal disease (ESRD), a renal replacement therapy becomes necessary to sustain life and several options are available for patients to discuss with their nephrologist. One treatment option is hemodialysis. The average in-center hemodialysis treatment is performed three times per week, each session lasting from three to five hours. When this treatment is done at home it is called home hemodialysis (HHD). Treatments are usually performed for two to three hours, five to six days a week.
Another treatment called peritoneal dialysis (PD) runs fluid in and out of the abdominal membrane, which has a cleansing effect on the blood. PD is done seven days a week at home and is performed either manually or by a machine at night.
A kidney transplant may be recommended as another treatment option. After transplantation, the nephrologist will stay in close contact, monitoring the body’s acceptance of the donor organ as well as blood pressure, medications and other health concerns.
The following Frequently Asked Questions below are referenced from The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. To learn more visit http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Anatomy/kidney...
What are the kidneys and what do they do?
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. Every day, the two kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid. The urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder through two thin tubes of muscle called ureters, one on each side of the bladder. The bladder stores urine. The muscles of the bladder wall remain relaxed while the bladder fills with urine. As the bladder fills to capacity, signals sent to the brain tell a person to find a toilet soon. When the bladder empties, urine flows out of the body through a tube called the urethra, located at the bottom of the bladder. In men the urethra is long, while in women it is short.
How do the kidneys work?
The kidney is not one large filter. Each kidney is made up of about a million filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron filters a small amount of blood. The nephron includes a filter, called the glomerulus, and a tubule. The nephrons work through a two-step process. The glomerulus lets fluid and waste products pass through it; however, it prevents blood cells and large molecules, mostly proteins, from passing. The filtered fluid then passes through the tubule, which sends needed minerals back to the bloodstream and removes wastes. The final product becomes urine.