A nephrologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the kidneys. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about the size of a fist located just below the rib cage on each side of the spine. Kidneys are the organs responsible for maintaining normal fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Kidneys filter all of the body’s blood throughout the day and expel any waste product or unnecessary electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium, and phosphate) in the urine. Kidneys are essential to good health because they maintain stable composition of the blood which keeps the whole body functioning. Renal is a common term relating to the kidneys, so it is common to be referred to a nephrologist for something like renal failure (kidney failure).
Kidneys may be affected by common disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Nephrology specialists deal with many kidney disorders such as fluid and electrolyte disorders, acid-base disorders, kidney stones, glomerula diseases, tubulointestinal diseases, mineral metabolism, acute and chronic kidney disease or renal failure, end-stage renal disease and dialysis.
Nephrology specialists are well aware of medications and clinical pharmacology, high blood pressure management, diabetes management and its complication, epidemiology of disease and infections, nutritional management for prevention and treatment of kidney disease, and more.
Nephrologists see male and female patients of all ages. Visits with a nephrology department may include a variety of diagnosis and treatment methods. Treatment from a renal specialist will typically begin with a referral from a primary care provider.