A kidney doctor is called a nephrologist. These physicians specialize in kidney infections, kidney diseases, and electrolyte imbalances.
Your kidneys play an essential role in your overall health, as they filter out toxins from your blood and maintain electrolyte and fluid balance in your body. Your primary care doctor will usually be the one to refer you to a nephrologist if your doctor notices a potential kidney problem.
Signs of Kidney Disease
These are the reasons why your doctor may refer you to a kidney doctor:
When the kidneys are not working as they should, it could be due to renal failure. This is a blanket term that has many causes, such as lack of blood flow to the kidneys, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. Symptoms of renal failure include edema (swelling and puffiness), confusion, vomiting, high blood pressure, and abnormal blood and urine tests.
Blood and Crystals in the Urine
Hematuria (blood in the urine) and oxalates (crystals in the urine) are both symptoms of serious kidney disorders. Blood in the urine may appear red, pink, or cola-colored, and it may be due to a kidney infection, kidney disease, kidney stones, or a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Oxalates in the urine are crystals that can develop into kidney stones. They form due to high levels of calcium, oxalate, and phosphate, and it occurs most often because the person is not drinking enough water to dilute the chemicals.
A diet high in protein, sugar, and sodium, coupled with dehydration, can cause the formation of oxalates. Being overweight and having been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) also makes you more prone to developing oxalate crystals and kidney stones.
Pain in the Side and Back
The thin tubes that pass urine from the kidneys to the bladder are the ureters. When kidney stones pass through a ureter, it can cause intense pain which is usually felt where your kidneys are – your sides. If the kidney stone cannot be passed naturally, you will need to see a doctor for treatment. If the pain is severe and you develop a fever, see a doctor immediately.
Kidney stones can have many possible causes, which only a kidney doctor can determine. This also runs in families, so if a grandparent, parent, or sibling has had the condition, then you are at particular risk.
Skilled Kidney Doctors in Greater Boston
The mission of nephrologists is to prevent the progression of kidney disease in patients in order to extend their life. When it comes to kidney disease, the earlier you detect it, the better the outcome. It’s always best to pay attention to what your body is telling you and not ignore unusual symptoms.
If you notice anything amiss, our compassionate kidney doctors are here to provide an assessment of your health and to recommend or perform next steps as necessary. To schedule a visit, call Commonwealth Nephrology Associates today at (617) 739-2100 or request an appointment via our online form now. We have several offices conveniently located in Boston and across the greater Boston area, and we look forward to serving you.