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A nephrologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the kidneys. They may also additionally treat associated conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. The specialty is known as nephrology meaning study of the functions of the kidneys. Unlike urology, it is not a surgical specialty, but a branch of internal medicine. The doctor may further specialize to treat cancer of the kidneys such as onconephrology or kidney disease in children as in the case of pediatric nephrology.
The scope of kidney diseases treated by a nephrologist includes kidney stones, hematuria (blood in urine), proteinuria (albumin in the urine), kidney infections, polycystic kidneys, acute kidney disorders, chronic kidney disease, and kidney failure.
The other disorders for which you should see a kidney doctor are electrolyte imbalances, glomerulonephritis, high creatinine levels and poor GFR (glomerular filtration rate).
In those with pre-diagnosed kidney disease, a nephrologist helps in the preservation of kidney health by means of appropriate medications, dietary tips, fluid restrictions and therapies such as dialysis or renal transplants.
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