Nephrology is the study of the normal functioning of kidneys as well as treatment or diseases related to it. Kidneys are essential for filtering out waste products and excess water from the body. They are also vital for retaining the fluid intake, electrolytes that may be altered by numerous conditions or medicines.
Nephrology deals with the diagnosis as well as treatment of kidney diseases, including hypertension and electrolyte disturbances. It also provides care to individuals who require renal replacement therapy, including dialysis and renal transplant.
Some diseases affecting the kidney are systemic disorders, which means, they are not limited to the organ itself and may require special treatment. Examples include acquired diseases like systemic vasculitides (e.g. ANCA vasculitis) and autoimmune diseases (e.g., lupus), as well as genetic conditions like polycystic kidney disease. Patients are referred to nephrology experts after a urinalysis, for multiple reasons, such as chronic kidney disease, acute kidney failure, hematuria, kidney stones, proteinuria hypertension, and disorders of electrolytes or acid/base.
Role of A Nephrologist
Nephrologists are kidney doctors who specialise in the care and treatment of renal or kidney related disorders. Broadly, the diseases that are treated by them include autoimmune diseases, kidney cancers, diabetic nephropathy, blood pressure and several others. Nephrology requires additional training to become a specialist with advanced skills and knowledge.
Nephrologists, at a kidney hospital, further sub-specialise in kidney transplantation, dialysis, cancer-related kidney diseases (Onconephrology), chronic kidney disease, procedural nephrology or other non-nephrology areas. Some of the procedures a nephrologist may perform include native kidney and transplant kidney biopsy, dialysis access insertion (temporary vascular access lines, tunnelled vascular access lines, peritoneal dialysis access lines), fistula management (angiographic or surgical fistulogram and plastic).
Diseases Under the Branch of Nephrology
Cancers of the kidneys, bladder, and urethra
Kidney and bladder stones
Effects of diseases like diabetes and hypertension on the kidneys
Ill effects of toxins and drugs on the kidneys
Nephrotic syndrome and nephritis
Renal vascular diseases
Polycystic Kidneys Diseases
Dialysis and its long-term complications