What is Nephrology?

Did You Know? Protein in the urine is the earliest sign of kidney damage caused by diabetes.

What is Nephrology?

Nephrology is a subspecialty of internal medicine concerned with the diagnoses, treatment and management of kidney functions and renal (kidney) replacement therapy such as dialysis and kidney transplantation. Nephrologists treat systemic conditions affecting kidneys such as diabetes and autoimmune disease, as well as hypertension (high blood pressure) and electrolyte disturbances.

Nephrologists are experts in kidney care. Their training includes completion of medical school followed by a residency in internal medicine and additional specialty training in nephrology.

Where are the Kidneys Located?

There are two kidneys, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the waist in the middle of your back, on either side of the spine.

What are their Functions?

Their critical functions are to cleanse blood, to maintain a stable balance of salt and minerals, and to help regulate blood pressure. This is done through the filtering and removal of waste products and excess fluid through the urine.

Kidneys do the following:

  • Remove waste products and drugs from the body
  • Regulate the body’s salt, potassium and acid content
  • Release hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • Produce an active form of Vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
  • Control the production of red blood cells

When are Patients Referred to DNA?

Patients are referred for many reasons:

  • Protein or blood in the urine
  • Severe high blood pressure
  • Kidney stones
  • Renal (kidney) insufficiency
  • Kidney failure