Nephrology is a specialty of medicine and pediatric medicine that concerns the study of the kidneys, specifically normal kidney function and kidney disease, the preservation of kidney health, and the treatment of kidney disease, from diet and medication to renal replacement therapy (dialysis and kidney transplantation).
Nephrology also studies systemic conditions that affect the kidneys, such as diabetes and autoimmune disease; and systemic diseases that occur as a result of kidney diseases, such as renal osteodystrophy and hypertension. A physician who has undertaken additional training and becomes certified in nephrology is called a nephrologist.
Acute Renal Failure
Acute kidney failure is the sudden loss of your kidneys’ ability to perform their main function of eliminating excess fluid and salts (electrolytes) as well as waste material from your blood. When your kidneys lose their filtering ability, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes accumulate in your body. Acute kidney failure, which is also called acute kidney injury, develops rapidly over a few hours or a few days. Acute kidney failure is most common in people who are already hospitalized, particularly in critically ill people who need intensive care. Acute kidney failure can be fatal and requires intensive treatment. However, acute kidney failure may be reversible. If you’re otherwise in good health, you may recover normal kidney function.
Renal Cell Cancer
Kidney cancer is cancer that originates in the kidneys. Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They’re located behind your abdominal organs, with one kidney on each side of your spine. In adults, the most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma. Other less common types of kidney cancer can occur. Transitional cell carcinoma, which affects the ureters, can also begin in the kidneys. Children are more likely to develop a kind of kidney cancer called Wilms’ tumor. The incidence of kidney cancer seems to be increasing, though it isn’t clear why. Many kidney cancers are detected during procedures for other diseases or conditions. Imaging techniques such as computerized tomography (CT) are being used more often, which may lead to the discovery of more kidney cancers.
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus. Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs, or even sunlight. While there’s no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney failure describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney failure damages your kidneys, dangerous levels of fluid and waste can accumulate in your body. In the early stages of chronic kidney failure, you may have few signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney failure may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired. Treatment for chronic kidney failure also called chronic kidney disease, focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney failure can progress to end-stage kidney disease, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.
In hemodialysis, a machine filters wastes, salts, and fluid from your blood when your kidneys are no longer healthy enough to do this work. Hemodialysis is the most common way to treat advanced, permanent kidney failure. The procedure can help you carry on an active life despite failing kidneys. Hemodialysis requires you to follow a strict treatment schedule, take medications regularly and, often, make changes in your diet