doctor talking about nephrology with patient

What is nephrology?

Nephrology is kidney medicine and is a subspecialty of internal medicine. It is 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 like those at Dallas Nephrology Associates are experts in kidney care. Their training includes completion of medical school followed by a residency in internal medicine and then additional specialty training in nephrology.

Where are the kidneys located?

The human body has two kidneys, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage in the middle of your back, on either side of the spine.

patient asking doctor what is nephrology

What are the functions of the kidneys?

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

Specifically, the 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 hormones that promote strong, healthy bones
  • Control the production of red blood cells

When do kidney problems necessitate a nephrology referral?

There are many potential reasons a primary care physician or other doctor may recommend you or a loved one to a nephrologist at Dallas Nephrology Associates. Internal medicine specialists and other physicians have some training in kidney function and care. Nephrologists, however, have the complete training and comprehensive, state-of-the-art capabilities to handle all renal disorders, including the most complex and serious.

At Dallas Nephrology Associates, doctors refer their patients to our specialists for many reasons, including:

  • Protein or blood in the urine
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Kidney stones
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • Kidney failure
  • Vascular access management
  • Transplant care

A patient with a doctor

Learn more about nephrology and chronic kidney disease.

To learn more, attend one of our CKD education classes. Visit our web page dedicated to patient education. 

To schedule an appointment with a Dallas Nephrology Associates specialist, or for information about referral to DNA, call 877-654-3639. You can also reach us via our convenient online form.