A kidney doctor, or nephrologist, is a medical specialist who focuses on evaluating, diagnosing, and treating kidney issues. Your primary care doctor may refer you to a nephrologist if they notice that you have one or more of the common symptoms or risks of kidney disorders.
The idea of having a kidney problem may seem concerning, but don’t worry – your nephrologist is here to help you. At your first appointment, you will already begin to develop a good understanding of your kidney health. Your kidney doctor can detect possible issues and recommend treatment.
Preparing for Your First Appointment with a Kidney Doctor
During your initial visit, your nephrologist will gather information about your general health and the state of your kidneys. It would be best if you have the following information ready before your consultation:
List of Signs and Symptoms
The doctor will ask you whether you have been experiencing any signs of possible kidney issues, such as:
- Pain in your side and back
- Swelling in your legs, feet, or around the eyes
- Significant and unexplained weight loss
- Changes in urination patterns
- Pain during urination
- Blood in your urine
- Changes in urine
Some symptoms of chronic kidney disease might not seem related to your kidneys, such as:
- Decreased mental sharpness
- Sleeping problems
- Muscle twitches
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
Having a list of any of these symptoms that relate to you will be helpful for your doctor. It’s also ideal if you can identify how long you have been experiencing each symptom.
Medical History and Records
Your personal medical history may reveal risk factors that you may have for underlying kidney disease. Kidney disease tends to run in families, so you are at an increased risk if a close relative – parent, grandparent, or sibling – has had kidney problems.
You may also have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or heart problems, which can place you at an increased risk of kidney complications. In addition, certain over-the-counter pain medications, cholesterol medications, and proton-pump inhibitors may also lead to kidney issues. Be sure to disclose these known conditions and medications to your kidney doctor during your consultation.
Examining Your Kidney Health
After reviewing your medical history and symptoms, your kidney doctor will conduct a physical examination to assess both your general health and specific kidney health. The nephrologist will check your heart condition, lung condition, and look for swelling in your lower extremities or your face.
Your nephrologist may recommend that you undergo laboratory tests and/or scans, like a blood test, urine test, or kidney ultrasound, depending on your condition.
Skilled Kidney Doctors in Boston, Massachusetts
Kidney issues often go undetected or ignored – but the sooner the disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to successfully treat. Our team at Commonwealth Nephrology Associates is here to provide you with expert support in every step, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our world-class kidney doctors, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (617) 739-2100 or by filling out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you stay healthy!