A nephrologist, also called a kidney doctor, is a doctor of internal medicine with a specialization in kidney care and hypertension. A nephrologist can diagnose and treat kidney disease and kidney failure, and hypertension. The kidney doctor assists people with kidney failure by prescribing medications, offering special diet advice, and coordinating dialysis care if necessary.
To study nephrology, a student must first graduate from medical school followed by a three-year program of internal medicine. To finally become a nephrologist, he must complete a two- to three-year fellowship specializing in nephrology.
To be certified as a nephrologist, a nephrologist first must have completed his certification in internal medicine, must then complete an accredited nephrology program, and must pass a nephrology certification exam. The nephrologist must re-certify every 10 years by re-taking the certification exam.
In order to identify a possible problem, a nephrologist will conduct a full physical exam followed by blood and urine tests. Your blood pressure is of paramount importance in the nephrologist’s evaluation. The nephrologist generally will have the patient conduct an ultrasound and, if necessary, perform a kidney biopsy. These are imaging tests that provide further information on the potential problem.
Following test results, a nephrologist will diagnose the problem and prescribe a treatment plan, if necessary. In addition to a medication regimen, renal diet and life style modifications may be necessary as part of the treatment plan. This may include a weight loss program. Avoiding excess weight or obesity is extremely important. The nephrologist typically recommends a low salt diet and plenty of fluids. S/he does not typically perform surgery. The nephrologist generally will refer the patient to the approriate physician in the event that one is needed.
Possible reasons to see a nephrologist include the following, amongst others:
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