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Nephrology (Kidney Clinic)

Nephrology is a branch of internal medicine that focuses on the overall health and function of the kidneys, including diagnosis and treatment of kidney conditions. The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located on either side of the spine, right below the ribcage behind the abdomen, and play a vital role within the human body. This role includes:

  • Filtering the blood, which happens several times in a day
  • Removing toxic substances from the body
  • Reabsorption and distribution of nutrients from the blood
  • Maintenance of overall balance of body fluids
  • Maintaining the right quantities of electrolytes
  • Hormones creation to regulate blood pressure and promote bone health among others.

Kidney Diseases

The kidneys can be affected by a number of diseases, which can either be medical or environmental. These conditions may lead to functional and structural issues. Some of the symptoms associated with kidney conditions include:

  • Swollen ankles as a result of fluid retention
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Change in urination
  • Itchy skin

Common Causes of Kidney Conditions

When the function of the kidney is compromised, then that is considered as a kidney disease. This damage to the kidney can worsen over time, even sometimes years. The impaired function to the kidneys can be caused by:

  • Lack of blood flow to the kidneys which may be caused by severe infections, severe burns, allergies, dehydration, and heart disease.
  • Infections in the kidney
  • Overuse of drugs and alcohol
  • Autoimmune diseases like lupus
  • Toxins overload
  • Blood clots in the kidneys
  • Inflamed blood vessels
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Viral illnesses
  • Defects at birth

Common Kidney Conditions

There are many different types of kidney conditions, which are categorized into two:

  • Acute Kidney Disease
  • Chronic Kidney Disease

Acute Kidney Disease

Acute kidney disease occurs when the kidneys suddenly stop functioning for a short period of time. This can range from one day to a few weeks. The lack of blood filtration leads to the accumulation of toxins and electrolytes in the body which can be severe.

Also known as acute kidney injury or acute kidney failure, the condition can be reversible, although it may require immediate treatment. Diagnosis of the condition is done through blood and urine tests. Some of the causes of acute kidney disease include:

  • Obstruction in the urinary tract
  • Blood loss
  • Sudden and severe infection
  • Dehydration
  • Liver failure
  • Toxicity from certain medications
  • Autoimmune kidney disorders
  • Blood clots

Treatment of Acute Kidney Disease

After a definite diagnosis of acute kidney failure, the treatment options are recommended depending on the underlying cause. The treatment options for acute kidney failure include:

  • Medication that can control minerals in the blood
  • Adopting a diet which has less potassium and salt
  • Hemodialysis

Chronic Kidney Disease

Also known as chronic kidney failure, chronic kidney disease is the loss of function of the kidneys over a long period of time. If the problem is not addressed earlier, then the patient may suffer permanent kidney failure, which is not reversible.

Chronic kidney disease can go undiagnosed for a long period of time due to the minimal symptoms it presents. It only becomes apparent when the symptoms become quite severe due to the impairment of the kidney functions.

Some of the common causes of chronic kidney disease include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Polycystic kidney disease. This is a genetic condition that occurs as a result of cysts in both kidneys.
  • Diabetes: Type 1 or type 2
  • Obstruction of the urinary tract due to kidney stones, tumors, or enlarged prostate
  • Kidney stones. This is a very common kidney condition that occurs when substances in the blood form stones in the kidneys. These stones are usually passed out during urination.
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Genetics. History of kidney disease in the family
  • Aging

The common symptoms of chronic kidney disease include:

  • Low urine output
  • Blood in the urine
  • Persistently itchy skin
  • Tiredness
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Breathlessness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle cramps

Chronic kidney disease is usually diagnosed through blood and urine tests, imaging, and through a biopsy.

Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease

At the moment, there is no one particular cure of chronic kidney disease, but there are treatment options for the symptoms. These include:

  • Taking an array of medications including antihistamines for itchy skin, iron supplements and blood transfusion for anemia, blood pressure medications, anti-nausea medications, and home remedies including a diet low in proteins and phosphates.
  • If the kidneys have reached the end-stage, which means they are functioning at less than 15% capacity, the patient would need to undergo routine dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis), or a kidney transplant in order to live.

Kidney Clinic at King’s

Nephrology (kidney disease) specialists at King’s College Hospital London in Dubai, are kidney physicians who provide a complete range of consultation, diagnosis, and treatment for patients with kidney diseases. The scope of care encompasses all stages of kidney disease, from the earliest detectable c

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