What is Nephrology?

Nephros translated from its Greek meaning is kidney. Nephrology is the study of the functionality and the diseases that affect the kidneys. It deals with the diagnosing and treating of any kidney disorder or disease. A Nephrologist is a medical physician specializing in the treatment of the kidneys. They will regulate kidney functions and well as treat any disorders or diseases, such as delivering dialysis.

There are many reasons you would want to see a Nephrologist rather than your Family Doctor. They are specialist and will deal with a wide spectrum of kidney issues, such as acute renal failure, chronic kidney disease, poor renal function, electrolyte imbalance disorders, hypertension, chronic urinary tract infections, kidney stones, proteinuria, hematuria, or disease affecting the bladder and/or prostate (most commonly kidney stones).

Most of the disorders found in the kidneys can be detected through a string of urine tests. However with more advanced conditions other tests that may be required are Ultrasound, CT scanning, Angiography, or a Renal biopsy. These tests will all be performed by a Nephrologist.

Once diagnosed with a kidney condition treatments are commonly medications. Only when the condition becomes a chronic kidney disease or a stage five kidney disorder will dialysis or a transplant be necessary. Many Nephrologist will specialize in the chronic kidney disease, some are known as interventional Nephrologist. They will focus on the stage five kidney diseases that require dialysis and transplant.

Nephrology nurses will most often focus on monitoring patients who undergo kidney treatment and also monitor any post transplant patients to watch for infection and to continue immunosuppressive regimens.

Although these kidney disorders and diseases can be common, you will still need to see a specialist.

Unfortunately if you don’t have medical insurance, the medical bills can cost can just sky rocket.
If the patient also has other issues that complicate the disorder such as excessive drinking, a decision needs to be made as to which issue to tackle first or if it is better to deal with both simultaneously. The approaches to alcoholism in the US do not auger well for the individual when you consider that the success rate for AA and other residential 12 step treatment programs is about 10%. Think of the number of people you know who have a drinking problem that is serious enough so they ended up in rehab or a trying to follow a 12 step, abstinence free program AND have failed. A new approach is needed. Doctors in Europe have been prescribing a medication called baclofen as the primary treatment for people who drink excessively. Unlike 12 step programs in the US that require abstinence such as AA , doctors in Europe are trying this new approach. They say that alcoholism is not a disease, but a symptom of a larger psychological issue. On the other hand you read about how the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) as a “chronic relapsing brain disease”. Baclofen removes or strongly suppresses cravings for alcohol in 92% of people. Initial clinical trials show that Baclofen has a 65% success rate for treatment-resistant alcoholics , allowing them to return to low- or medium-risk drinking. That’s right, this new approach to medical alcoholism recovery doesn’t require abstinence although many people do stop all drinking. And if the person has a kidney disorder the goal most likely would be to cease all drinking. Interestingly this drug to prevent alcoholism originally was developed to help relieve painful spasm, automatism, as well as clonus from a number of neurological diseases associated with spasm of the skeletal muscles. It is only relatively recently doctors are using it to treat excessive drinking.

The financial burdens that are shouldered by patients and their families are not really optional if you want that loved one to get better. You can find financial help with Nationwide Biweekly Administration (http://www.Facebook.com/Nationwide). But it is important to have the right insurance coverage before anything happens. As many nurses will attest, there are times (chemo therapy, radiology treatments) when insurance can be used legitimately to help defray the costs of maintaining a normal life – for example insurance may be used purchase wigs for cancer patients.

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