Nephrology is the branch of internal medicine dealing with the study of the function र diseases of the kidney. The word nephrology is derived from the Greek word nephros, which means "kidney", र the suffix -ology, or "study of".
Scope of the specialtyसम्पादन
Most diseases affecting the kidney are not limited to the organ itself, but are systemic disorders. Nephrology concerns itself with the diagnosis of kidney disease र its treatment (medication, dialysis), र follow-up of renal transplant patients. Additionally, most nephrologists consider themselves to be expert in the care of electrolyte disorders र hypertension. Given that most renal conditions are chronic, nephrologists "grow with their patients".
Who sees a nephrologist?सम्पादन
Patients are referred to nephrology specialists for various different reasons, such as :
- Acute renal failure, a sudden loss of renal function
- Chronic renal failure; another doctor has detected symptoms of declining renal function, often a rise in creatinine.
- Hematuria (blood loss in the urine)
- Proteinuria the loss of protein especially albumin in the urine
- Kidney stones
- Cancer of the kidney, mostly renal cell carcinoma but this is usually the domain of the urologist
- Chronic or recurrent urinary tract infections
- Hypertension that has failed to respond to multiple forms of anti-hypertensive medication or could have a secondary cause
- Electrolyte disorders or acid/base imbalance
As with the rest of medicine, important clues as to the cause of any symptom are gained in the history र physical examination.
More specialized tests can be ordered to discover or link certain systemic diseases to kidney failure such as hepatitis b or hepatitis c, lupus serologies, paraproteinemias such as amyloidosis or multiple myeloma or various other systemic diseases that lead to kidney failure. Collection of a २४-hour sample of urine can give valuable information on the filtering capacity of the kidney र the amount of protein loss in some forms of kidney disease. However, २४-hour urine samples have recently, in the setting of chronic renal disease, been replaced by spot urine ratio of protein र creatinine.
Other tests often performed by nephrologists are:
- Renal biopsy, to obtain a tissue diagnosis of a disorder when the exact nature or stage remains uncertain.;
- Ultrasound scanning of the urinary tract र occasionally examining the renal blood vessels;
- CT scanning when mass lesions are suspected or to help diagnosis nephrolithiasis;
- Scintigraphy (nuclear medicine) for accurate measurment of renal function (rarely done), diagnosis of renal artery disease, or 'split function' of each kidney;
- Angiography or Magnetic resonance imaging angiography when the blood vessels might be affected
Many kidney diseases are treated with medication, such as steroids, DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), antihypertensives (many kidney diseases feature hypertension). Often erythropoietin र vitamin D treatment is required to replace these two hormones, the production of which stagnates in chronic renal disease.
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