Meet Our Specialists
Whether you have just been diagnosed with kidney problems or are starting dialysis, awaiting transplant, or receiving treatment following a transplant — we are here to help you determine your options, and provide the best possible treatment for your condition. Our nephrologists believe in honesty, compassionate care, and continuously acquiring new knowledge and medical skills. Our board-certified nephrologists are educated and trained in treating diseases of the kidney. These physicians are at the forefront of patient care, new technology, and improvements in diagnostics to evaluate, diagnose, and treat each patient.
What is a Nephrology Specialist?
Nephrologists are specialists in internal medicine who have obtained extra training in the medical treatment of patients with kidney diseases.
They have been taught and qualified in kidney diseases, kidney transplantation, and dialysis therapy. The education qualifies the specialists to treat kidney diseases in an extensive approach, because kidney diseases can have an effect on the function of other body organs. These kidney specialists could further dedicate to pediatric nephrology (kidney diseases in children treatment) or adult nephrology.
Nephrologists play an essential role in making decisions, in conjunction with patients and/or families, in relation to withholding or withdrawing dialysis. One of the kidney specialists’ main activities is the utilization of the artificial kidney to treat patients with acute and chronic kidney failure.
We Provide Expertise in:
- Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
- Acute Kidney Injury
- Kidney Stones
- Electrolytes (salt) Disorders
- Lupus Nephritis
- In-Center and Home Dialysis
- Kidney Transplant Care
- Obstructive Kidney Disease
- Cystic Kidney Disease
- Vascular Disorders of the Kidney
- Protein in the Urine
6 Tips for Healthy Holidays on a Dialysis Diet
- Serving sizes are important. A serving of protein, for example, is about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. That’s a good-sized serving of beef, chicken or fish. A cup of fruit is about the size of a baseball. A serving of rice is about the size of a computer mouse.
- Sodium – salt – is an important ingredient in maintaining the right balance of fluids for people on dialysis. Limiting sodium intake helps control thirst, which makes it easier to manage fluid intake. Think beyond the salt shaker on the table. How much salt was used in the preparation? Sauces and condiments are other common sources of sodium.
- Celebratory beverages can create problems for people on dialysis, leading to excess fluid building up in the body. Offering your guest with kidney disease a small glass to drink from may help him limit fluid intake and stay in balance. Most people on dialysis should limit intake of fluids to 32 ounces a day.
- Potassium is important in the proper functioning of muscles, including the heart, but too much potassium can be dangerous for people with kidney disease. Potassium lurks in many common foods – fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, nuts, and legumes. Sweet potatoes or yams, pumpkin pie, creamed spinach, pecan pie and mashed potatoes are holiday favorites that are high in potassium. Lower potassium foods like rice, green beans, stuffing, and apple pie are better choices. Canned or cooked fruits and vegetables are lower in potassium than their fresh counterparts.
- Calcium and phosphorous work together in the body, but too much of either can be a problem. Be wary of processed foods, dairy products, and nuts. Beverages can also be a source of phosphorus. Most dialysis patients take phosphate binders that act like sponges and help control blood phosphorus levels. Foods high in calcium include dairy products or fortified juices and cereals. Choose carefully to prevent upsetting this delicate balance.
- Dialysis patients should strive for balance in their total nutrient intake for the day. Serving dressings and sauces on the side and allowing guests to add salt or other seasonings at the table will help patients manage their food choices more easily while enjoying their favorite holiday dishes.
Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They are located near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. The kidneys are sophisticated trash collectors. Every day, your kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to sift out about 2 quarts of waste products and extra water. The waste and extra water become urine, which flows to your bladder through tubes called ureters. Your bladder stores urine until you go to the bathroom.
The wastes in your blood come from the normal breakdown of active muscle and from the food you eat. Your body uses the food for energy and self-repairs. After your body has taken what it needs from the food, waste is sent to the blood. If your kidneys did not remove these wastes, the wastes would build up in the blood and damage your body.
The kidneys are the master chemists of the body. They filter and remove waste products from the blood, remove extra water from the body, adjust levels of minerals and chemicals in your body and produce hormones that help control your blood pressure and help make red blood cells.
There are a number of ways you can protect your kidneys and slow the progression of CKD.
Good blood pressure control, diet modifications, smoking cessation and if you are a diabetic, keeping your blood sugar in a safe range are all ways you can positively affect your kidney function. In addition, keep informed about your test results, ask questions, and be involved in your treatment plan.
You are the most important member of your health care team.
Blood Tests – Zerum creatinine, Electrolytes, & BUN
Urine Tests – Microalbumin, Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
Imaging Tests – A renal ultrasound may be recommended to assess the size, shape and anatomy of your kidney. In addition, a CT scan, MRI or MRA may be recommended to determine possible reasons for your kidney disease.
Kidney Biopsy – A kidney biopsy is a test where a small piece of kidney tissue is removed by a needle. The tissue is examined under a microscope to determine the cause of kidney disease.
Diabetes is the most common cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the United States. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and affect the filtering ability of the kidney. Controlling your blood sugar can help slow the progress of your kidney disease.
High blood pressure damages the blood vessels and reduces blood supply to the kidney. High blood pressure can cause kidney problems and kidney problems can cause high blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause a decrease in kidney function and irreversible kidney damage.
One way to preserve your kidney function is to modify your diet. Proper nutrition can reduce the workload of the kidneys and preserve or delay further progression of your kidney disease. A renal dietitian can help you make good choices with the foods you normally eat and make suggestions on foods to add and foods to moderate in your diet. The dietitian is an important part of your healthcare team and can assist you in living well with chronic kidney disease.
A nephrologist is a doctor who treats patients with kidney problems and related hypertension or high blood pressure. Once you have been diagnosed with kidney disease, early referral to nephrologists is important in preserving and protecting your kidney function. As a specialist in kidney disease, your nephrologists have the knowledge and skill to work with you in developing a plan of care specific to your needs.
High blood pressure may be controlled with a combination of weight loss, exercise, changes in diet, stress reduction and smoking cessation. If these steps do not control your blood pressure then medications, often a combination of medications is recommended. Each type of blood pressure medication you take provides a different benefit for controlling your blood pressure and slowing the progression of kidney disease.
Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD is chronic kidney disease. CKD is defined as a decreased level of kidney function or the evidence of kidney damage for greater than three months. Individuals at risk for developing kidney disease are those with diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease.
Common medications to avoid are NSAIDS (anti-inflammatory medications), enemas and laxatives — unless ordered by the nephrologists, any “cure-all” remedies and various food supplements, herbal medicines and vitamins. It is a good idea to check with your nephrologists prior to starting any new over the counter or prescription medications.
Hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and kidney transplant are all treatment options. Kidney transplantation surgically places a healthy kidney from another person into your body. The donated kidney does the work that your failed kidneys used to do. One additional option is to refuse or withdraw from treatment.
For many people dialysis and transplantation extend and improve quality of life. For others these treatment options may seem a burden and only to prolong suffering. You have the right to refuse or withdraw dialysis if you feel there is no hope of improving your quality of life or a life with dignity and meaning.
Dialysis is a process that cleans and filters your blood. There are two types of dialysis, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
Hemodialysis – Hemodialysis cleans your blood using a machine with a special filter called a dialyzer. During a hemodialysis treatment blood travels from your body through tubes to the dialyzer which filters out wastes and extra water. The cleaned blood flows through another set of tubes back into your body.
Peritoneal Dialysis – Peritoneal dialysis removes wastes and extra water from your body using the lining of your abdomen (peritoneum) to filter your blood. A special solution travels through a soft tube into your abdomen. The solution draws wastes and extra water from tiny blood vessels in your peritoneum back into the solution which is then drained from your abdomen through the soft tube.