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Our physicians (nephrologists) and care team specialize in kidneys and kidney related diseases. Our Nashville team is experienced in managing Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), Hypertension, Anemia, Dialysis, Kidney Transplantation and more. Below are more details on some of the common conditions managed by Nashville Kidney Care.
Kidneys are complicated and there is a lot to learn and understand about them. Our Nashville nephrology team can provide more detailed and customized information about Chronic Kidney Disease, Hypertension, Dialysis options and much more to both patients and families. We want our patients to be well educated on their health. In an effort to create even more opportunities to do so, we have developed many patient education handouts and infographics on various subjects relating to the kidneys. Visit our patient education page or call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our kidney doctors to learn more.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the gradual and progressive decline in kidney function. Normally, as the body ages the kidneys age and slowly lose function but normally do not decline to a point that cause impairment. However, some patients (often patients that have diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases that attack or stress the kidneys) have an accelerated decline in kidney function. When kidney diseases progresses, it allows waste products to accumulate in the body and a multitude of symptoms can develop. Since symptoms often vary by patient, CKD may be missed or misdiagnosed by some physicians. Some symptoms of CKD include weight loss or weight gain, fatigue, decrease in urine output, loss of appetite, swelling of the body, increased tendency to bruise or bleed, paleness, seizures, confusion or even coma. The role of the nephrologist is to help preserve kidney function as best possible and to prepare or start renal replacement therapy (dialysis or kidney transplant) when CKD progresses.
Please consider calling us for a nephrology consultation if you or your patient has any of the following conditions:
1. Elevated Creatinine (Creatinine > 1.5 mg/dL or GFR < 45 ml/min)
2. Hypertensive Urgency
3. Proteinuria or Hematuria
4. Severe edema or volume overload
5. Recurrent kidney stones
Unfortunately, many patients will lose kidney function (either acutely or chronically) and will need some sort of renal replacement therapy to replace the functions of the human kidney. Dialysis is one form of renal replacement therapy and can be done in two ways:
- Hemodialysis – Blood is taken from the patient’s body and run through a machine that acts as an artificial kidney. The dialysis machine removes excess fluid, balances the electrolytes, removes waste products, buffers acid production, and returns the blood to the patient’s body.
- Peritoneal Dialysis – Fluid enters into the abdominal cavity of the patient. It helps remove water, balance electrolytes, remove waste products, and buffer acids. The excess fluid is then drained out of the abdomen.
While many patients receive hemodialysis in an outpatient dialysis facility, both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis can be performed at home. Home dialysis focuses on training patients to perform the task of hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis independently. Many patients prefer home dialysis as it allows them to complete treatments in the comfort of their own homes, and on their own schedules. If you need to go on dialysis your nephrologist will work with you to determine which option is best for you and your lifestyle.
For many patients with late stage kidney disease, a kidney transplant is often the best option. A kidney transplant can provide a better quality of life than dialysis. Patients who receive a kidney transplant have more energy, more freedom and a less strict diet. Our nephrologists and care team are experienced in helping guide patients through the kidney transplant process.
Hypertension (HTN) = a fancy medical term for high blood pressure.
- Normal blood pressure: systolic or <120/80 mmHg
- Prehypertension: >120/80 mmHg
- Hypertension: >140/90 mmHg
Essential (primary) HTN – While the exact cause is not entirely clear, physicians believe it is a caused by a combination of genetic background, race, diet, weight gain, and other environmental factors.
Secondary HTN – High blood pressure that may have a specific underlying cause that is not from “essential HTN.” Your nephrologist or care team will determine if you need to be screened for this.
Causes: Sleep apnea, Chronic Kidney Disease, disorders of the adrenal gland, narrowing of kidney arteries, birth control pills, and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ie. Ibuprofen, naproxen).
Resistant HTN – Blood pressure that is still not within the normal blood pressure range despite being treated with 3 medications (one of these medications has to be a diuretic).
Anemia, or lack of red blood cells, is very common in patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Red blood cells are crucial to your body function as they carry oxygen through your bloodstream, helping your bones, muscles, and organs work properly. Your kidneys help your body make red blood cells with signals from a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). If you have kidney disease you will lack the EPO to create sufficient red blood cells. Your nephrologist and healthcare team will work with you to help manage your anemia.