Common cases in nephrology. What cases to refer to a nephrologist? When to refer a patient to a nephrologist?


A nephrologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of kidney disorders. 

Nephrologists are experts not just in disorders that affect the kidneys, but they’re also well-versed in how renal disease or malfunction can impact other regions of the body.

While your primary care physician will strive to prevent and cure kidney disease in its early stages, a nephrologist may be consulted to diagnose and treat more severe or complex kidney diseases.

Some common cases in Nephrology:

  • recurrent kidney stones
  • significant quantities of blood or protein in your urine
  • an uncommon or hereditary kidney disease cause
  • kidney failure, cysts, and electrolyte disorders

When to see a nephrologist:

Your primary care physician can assist you in preventing and treating renal disease in its early stages. However, these early phases may not have any symptoms or may have nonspecific symptoms like weariness, sleep difficulties, and changes in urination frequency. Regular testing can help you keep track of your kidney function, which is especially important if you’re at risk for renal disease. 

Signs of declining kidney function, such as a lower GFR or a higher amount of albumin in your urine, can be detected by testing. If your test results show that your kidney function is rapidly deteriorating or continues to deteriorate, your doctor may send you to a nephrologist.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, your doctor may send you to a nephrologist:

  • a chronic renal disease that has progressed
  • large amounts of blood or protein in your urine recurring kidney stones
  • high blood pressure that is still high even though you are taking medications a rare or inherited cause of kidney disease

Reasons to see a nephrologist:

Most patients don’t see a nephrologist until their primary care physician refers them. Seeing a nephrologist usually implies you have kidney-related symptoms from an unknown origin or health problems that only a renal expert can handle. If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, you may be sent to a nephrologist:

  • Infections of the Urinary Tract: If you suffer a lot of urinary tract infections (UTI), which are generally bladder infections, you are at increased risk for the infection to move up to your kidneys. You’re also more likely to acquire renal disease, irreversible kidney damage, or even kidney failure due to this. Chronic UTI symptoms, particularly blood in the urine, fever, and tiredness, might potentially signal bladder or kidney cancer in its early stages.
  • Kidney Stones That Recur: Kidney stones are mineral or salt-based deposits that form inside your kidneys and cause a lot of discomforts as they travel through your urinary tract. If you have a lot of kidney stones, it means your kidneys aren’t filtering waste correctly and allowing deposits to build up.
  • Foamy Urine: Foamy or bubbly urine implies there is a protein in your urine. Proteinuria can be caused by various factors, some innocuous, while others are more likely to cause kidney injury. Your urine usually contains a small amount of protein waste. However, this protein will go undetected. Only when you have a lot of protein in your system will you see foam or bubbles in your urine. It could suggest more moderate stages of chronic renal disease or early kidney failure. 
  • Itchy Skin and Joint or Bone Pain: If you have itchy skin and bone and joint pain, you may have renal bone disease, commonly known as mineral and bone problems. This disorder can arise when your kidneys can’t keep up with the amount of calcium and phosphorus your bones require. It happens when your kidneys can’t keep up with the amount of calcium and phosphorus your bones need. 
  • Acute kidney injury (AKI) is the fast start of kidney illness caused by circumstances such as shock (reduced blood perfusion of the kidneys), dehydration, surgery-related kidney issues, or insufficient urinary tract drainage (ureter, bladder, prostate, urethra).
  • A Family History of Kidney Disease: It’s a good idea to see a nephrologist if your family has a history of heart problems. Nephrologists can help prevent and cure kidney disease in its early stages. Because having an underlying tendency might put you in danger, early testing is critical for your health. Early detection of indications of declining kidney function can be aided by administering testing.
  • High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is the second major cause of renal failure for this reason. Consult a nephrologist if you have increased blood pressure to discover ways to protect your kidneys and manage your blood pressure.
  • Changes in urination: When you notice changes in your urine patterns, it’s an indication you should visit a nephrologist. It is a sign that something is not right with your kidneys, such as renal disease or kidney failure, and that you should get medical help. Unusual urination alterations include peeing less frequently or not at all and foamy or darker urine.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes is another factor that might put your kidneys at danger. Diabetes, according to experts, puts a lot of strain on the kidneys and damages them. Patients with diabetes are commonly really compromised, and if they are not on dialysis, they are at significant risk of kidney failure.
  • Brain Fog: Another indicator that you should visit a nephrologist is if you’re having trouble remembering things or feeling like your brain is “fuzzy.” It might be an indication of renal disease. According to new research, reduced kidney function has been linked to lower cognitive performance in areas including global cognitive ability, abstract thinking, and verbal memory. Contact a nephrologist for a crucial examination if you’re experiencing these symptoms.

The optimum time to consult a kidney doctor depends on your kidney function, specific renal disease, and other risk factors. When your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) starts to decline, you should visit a nephrologist as soon as possible. 

For a high Cr (stage 4) or a GFR less than 30, it appears that a referral to a nephrologist should be considered, although some patients should visit a kidney doctor much sooner. Because visiting a nephrologist on time is linked to a better chance of survival, it’s advisable to see one of these healthcare experts sooner rather than later.

What does a nephrologist do?

Doctors who specialize in diagnosing, treating, and managing kidney diseases and illnesses are known as nephrologists. Hypertension, fluid retention, and electrolyte and mineral imbalances are all addressed.

Furthermore, nephrologists are in charge of renal dialysis, including both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis and kidney transplants and follow-up treatment. Nephrologists are renal health professionals who strive to discover problems with your kidneys and help you stay healthy. 

Your kidneys filter your blood to remove waste and pollutants, as well as monitor and regulate your body’s water, acid-base, and mineral ratios. Without appropriate blood filtration and regulated amounts of water and nutrients, your body might become an unhealthy environment. Low kidney function puts you at risk for chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease requiring regular dialysis.

When you go to a nephrologist for treatment, you’re placing yourself in the hands of experts who can provide the best treatment plan for you. They stay up to date on medical developments in the field of kidney disease to guarantee you get the most precise and complete care available.


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