Nephrology is a branch of internal medicine and pediatrics dealing with the study of the function and diseases of the kidney.
Nephrology concerns the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases, including electrolyte disturbances and hypertension, and the care of those requiring renal replacement therapy, including dialysis and renal transplant patients. Many diseases affecting the kidney are systemic disorders not limited to the organ itself, and may require special treatment. Examples include acquired conditions such as systemic vasculitides (eg. ANCA vasculitis) and autoimmune diseases (e.g., lupus), as well as congenital or genetic conditions such as polycystic kidney disease.
Patients are referred to nephrology specialists for various reasons, such as
Acute renal failure, a sudden loss of renal function
Chronic kidney disease, declining renal function, usually with an inexorable rise in creatinine
Hematuria, blood in the urine
Proteinuria, the loss of protein especially albumin in the urine
Kidney stones, usually only recurrent stone formers
Chronic or recurrent urinary tract infections
Electrolyte disorders or acid/base imbalance
Hypertension that has failed to respond to multiple forms of anti-hypertensive medication or could have a secondary cause
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