A nephrologist, also called a kidney doctor, is a doctor of internal medicine with a specialization in kidney care and the treatment of kidney diseases/conditions.
To study nephrology, a student must first graduate from medical school followed by a three-year program of internal medicine. To finally become a nephrologist, he must complete a two- to three-year fellowship specializing in nephrology.
A nephrologist learns to identify and evaluate a range of kidney problems, including glomerular/vascular disorders, tubular/interstitial disorders, hypertension (or high blood-pressure), and chronic kidney disease.
In order to identify a possible problem, a nephrologist will first conduct blood and urine tests. If necessary, he may conduct an ultrasound or perform a kidney biopsy, which are imaging tests that provide further information on the potential problem.
Following test results, a nephrologist will diagnose the problem and prescribe a treatment plan, if necessary. He does not typically perform operations; rather he will refer the patient to the approriate physician in the event that one is needed.
Reasons to See a Nephrologist
If you think you are experiencing kidney problems, first consult your regular doctor. If necessary, he will refer you to a kidney doctor. Possible reasons to see a nephrologist include chronic or repeat urinary tract infections, repeat kidney stones and acute kidney failure, to name a few.
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