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Kidney Disease (Nephrology) 

One in nine Americans – or approximately 20 million people – suffers from one of several forms of chronic kidney/renal disease according to the National Kidney Foundation. Another 20 million face an increased risk. At Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas we have a large team of nephrologists (doctors who specialize in kidney and renal disease) on the medical staff and have been nationally recognized for excellence.

Kidneys filter the blood, removing waste from the body and helping maintain its proper chemical balance. In addition, the kidneys produce:

  • Rennin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure
  • Erythoprotein, a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells
  • Vitamin D, which the body needs to absorb calcium

Many medical conditions, diseases or injuries can lead to a loss of kidney function or even chronic kidney failure.

Kidney/Renal Disease Symptoms

Many forms of kidney disease do not show symptoms until later stages. Some warning signs include:

  • Burning or difficulty while urinating
  • An increase in the frequency of urination – especially at night
  • Blood in the urine
  • Puffiness around the eyes and/or swelling of the hands and feet
  • Pain in the lower back, just below the ribs
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney stones often show no early symptoms. Some symptoms include:
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Kidney pain on the back or side
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Groin pain
  • Blood in the urine

Kidney/Renal Disease Diagnostic Techniques

If you have some symptoms of kidney disease, your physician may order tests to assist in your diagnosis.

  • Blood Pressure
  • Serum Creatinine
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine Albumin

If kidney stones are suspected, there are multiple methods used to determine:

  • Abdominal CT Scan
  • Abdominal/Kidney MRI
  • Abdominal X-Rays
  • Kidney Ultrasound
  • Urinalysis

End-stage Rental Disease

People with end-stage renal (kidney) disease have two treatment options: dialysis or kidney transplantation. The decision to have a transplant is one that patients will make along with the advice of their nephrologist.

Dialysis can be a lifesaving treatment, but it involves dependence on a hemodialysis machine or on peritoneal dialysis exchanges (machines that clean your blood and replace the function of your kidneys). For many people, the quality of life on these two types of dialysis is unsatisfactory and kidney transplantation provides another lifesaving option that can improve one’s quality of life and remove the barriers of dialysis.

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