The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that there are roughly 661,000 Americans who are suffering from kidney failure. Of these, approximately 468,000 are on dialysis, and some 193,000 are living with a kidney transplant.
Kidney failure has two different types: acute and chronic. Acute kidney failure is a potentially reversible condition that produces rapid-onset symptoms, whereas chronic kidney failure (also known as chronic kidney disease) develops gradually and can lead to irreversible kidney damage.
If you’re experiencing sleep problems, poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, decreased urine output, shortness of breath, and fluid retention, see a nephrologist (kidney doctor) right away. Kidney failure—regardless of whether it is acute or chronic—is a potentially life-threatening condition and thus warrants prompt intervention.
Read on to learn about how a kidney doctor can both diagnose and treat kidney failure.
Diagnosing Kidney Failure
To confirm a diagnosis, your kidney doctor will do a comprehensive assessment, which includes a review of your personal and family health history and a series of tests. Your doctor may ask questions about your overall health, symptoms, and whether you’ve taken any medications that might have any effect on your kidney function.
Below is an outline of some of the tests your kidney doctor may order to confirm a diagnosis:
- Renal Ultrasound– This allows your doctor to examine your kidneys in real-time.
- Glomerular filtration rate-This is a type of blood test that helps your doctor evaluate how well your kidneys are filtering creatinine from your blood, determine what stage of kidney disease you have, and plan your treatment.
- Urinalysis– This is done to examine your urine for abnormalities indicative of kidney failure, such as albuminuria— a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of albumin, a protein produced in your liver responsible for maintaining fluid balance in the body.
- Renal biopsy– The test involves obtaining a small sample of your kidney tissue, which will be examined under a microscope for signs of kidney damage.
What Are Some Kidney Failure Treatments?
If your kidney doctor determines that you have acute kidney failure, they will create a treatment plan that will both prevent complications and give your kidneys time to heal. Your doctor may prescribe the following interventions:
- Diuretics (water pills)- to remove excess fluid, if you’re having fluid retention
- Iron supplements- to treat anemia, which often accompanies kidney failure
- Hypertension medications, diet, and exercise- to help control your blood pressure
- Medications to manage your potassium levels
- Temporary hemodialysis- to help flush out toxins, excess fluids, and excess potassium from your system while your kidneys are recovering
If your kidney doctor confirms that you have chronic kidney failure, they will work to slow its progression, prevent complications, and alleviate your symptoms. Your treatment plan may include the following:
- Blood pressure medications
- Medications to control your cholesterol levels
- Erythropoietin supplements- to treat anemia
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements- to help protect your bones
- Low-protein diet
If you have complete kidney failure (end-stage kidney disease), your doctor may recommend either dialysis or a kidney transplant
Reliable Kidney Doctor in Marlborough, MA
At Commonwealth Nephrology Associates, our board-certified kidney doctors are all dedicated to delivering high-quality, comprehensive, and personalized care. We will devise an effective treatment plan and work closely with you to help you reverse or manage your kidney problem.
Give us a call today at (617) 739-2100 or use our convenient online form to request an appointment with one of our kidney doctors.
We have offices in Attleboro, Dorchester, Norfolk, Natick, Marlborough, South Weymouth, and Westwood.