Kidney diseases at their early stages don’t have serious implications. However, they don’t show any irregular or unusual symptoms that you may experience and think to visit a nephrologist. The only way to check if your kidneys are working perfectly is by testing. No matter if you don’t suffer any kidney pain, get checked if you have heart disease, diabetes, a family history of heart failure, or most importantly, diabetes.
You might be thinking how many times a year did I need to test nephrology? Well, depending on your health conditions, you have to get yourself checked every year frequently. If you have diabetes, heart disease, heart failure issues, or a family history of kidney diseases, ask your healthcare provider about how often you need to visit a nephrologist and get tested. It is essential to visit a doctor from the first exposure of your kidney pain, the sooner you’ll get to know about your kidney issues, the better it will be to take care of your kidneys.
What tests and diagnosis are used for kidney diseases?
The diagnosis and tests usually depend on the severity of any disease. If you have been dealing with diabetes for a long, then you may have already gone through several tests. If you are experiencing kidney pain and have any related health condition having the potential of affecting your kidney, your nephrologist will use the following test to reach any diagnosis;
- Urine test – To identify the albumin level. Albumin is a natural protein present in your body that only releases through urine when your kidneys are damaged.
- A GFR test – GFR stands for glomerular filtration rate and the test is performed to find out how well the kidneys are functioning in filtering your blood.
- Imaging test – Imaging tests are performed through an ultrasound test. With this, doctors need to see the size and structure of your kidneys.
- Taking a sample tissue from your kidney – Nephrologists, sometimes perform a biopsy to assess the kidney condition. This involves taking sample tissue from your kidney. This kidney biopsy usually performed with anesthesia with the help of a thin long needle which is penetrated to your skin all the way through your kidney. This tissue from your kidney is then sent to the lab for further testing where it helps to determine what’s behind your kidney issues.
If you already have been diagnosed with kidney disease, your nephrologist will perform the first two tests (GERD and urine tests) to see if the medications are working well or if the disease needs further diagnosis.
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Treatment for Chronic kidney disease
Once your disease is diagnosed, your healthcare providers will be more able to plan the treatment for it. Unfortunately, not all kidney diseases and their types are curable and kidney problems with chronic issues have no cure. However, treatments can be provided to keep the symptoms in control, reduce the progression rate, and reduce complications.
If you have serious kidney issues or your kidneys have been severely damaged, then you need end-stage treatment for your kidney disease.
Identifying and treating the source
The first treatment plan after diagnosis will include the medicine to control or reduce the root cause of the disease. The treatment plan may differ as it depends on the main cause of your kidney disease. However, regardless of what treatment plan you follow, kidney damage continues to worsen when you suffer from either heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension, even if they are under control.
Complications during nephrology treatment
Complications that hinder treating your kidney disease can be taken into control in order to make you feel more relaxed. To control underlying health issues, treatment may include;
- Medication to control blood pressure – Oftentimes, kidney failure patients have high blood pressure problems. To control your hypertension and blood pressure, your nephrologist may recommend medicines to control or keep your blood pressure low. These nephrology medicines often include angiotensin II receptors or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that mainly preserve and help restore kidney function.
Prescription medications provided for controlling high blood pressure usually decrease kidney function and alter the levels of electrolytes present in the kidneys. This is why it is imperative that you monitor your condition through frequent or regular blood tests. In addition, you may also need to follow a low-salt diet and diuretic (a water pill) for this reason.
- Medications to treat cholesterol levels – To control your cholesterol levels, doctors generally recommend a medication named statin. People with kidney diseases are often found with high cholesterol issues and if it is not addressed timely, they can increase the risks of heart failure.
- Medication to relieve swelling – Due to fluid retention, chronic kidney patients develop a level of swelling in their legs along with high blood pressure. For this, diuretics medication is recommended for your body to maintain fluid balance and blood pressure.
- Medication for preventing fractures – Diabetes often results in weak bones and a reduction in essential nutrients in the body. Vitamin D and Calcium supplements are used to restore bone and muscular strength. Doctors also recommend taking phosphate binders that help keep the phosphate level low in your body which takes part in depositing calcium from blood vessels.
- Medication for anemia – Supplements containing the hormone erythropoietin (uh-rith-roe-POI-uh-tin) with iron addition aid in producing more red blood cells. These supplements help minimize weakness and fatigue linked with anemia.
Treatment to culminate kidney disease
Sometimes your kidney does not keep fluid and waste management function successfully and you reach completely near kidney failure, then you will be diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease. The only treatment left after this is either a kidney transplant or dialysis.
- Kidney transplant – A kidney transplant is performed surgically by which a healthy kidney is transplanted into your body from a suitable donor. A transplanted kidney can be taken from a living or even a deceased family member.
Once you’ve gone through the procedure, you’ll need to take medicines to prevent your body from rejecting the new organ.
- Dialysis – This procedure is performed to remove waste and fluids from your body when your body organs such as kidneys don’t do it on their own. It is done through a machine and the procedure is referred to as
Another category of dialysis is peritoneal dialysis where a thin tube is inserted through the abdominal cavity which absorbs excess fluid and wastes from your body. After some time, this solution drains out carrying the excess fluid and waste from the body.
Kidney failure is a reality and can be fatal in many conditions. To keep you and your loved ones healthy, it is vital to have regular health checkups to prevent chronic disease from occurring, especially when there’s a family history of heart failure, kidney failure, high blood pressure, or chronic kidney disease.