Patient FAQs

What is nephrology?

Nephrology concerns the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases, including electrolyte disturbances and hypertension, as well as providing care for those requiring renal replacement therapy, dialysis and renal transplants.

How is a nephrologist different from a urologist?

Urologists treat surgical problems associated with the kidneys and urinary tract, while nephrologists diagnose and treat medical problems associated with abnormal kidney function. Many of our patients also see a urologist. The types of care urologists and nephrologists provide do not overlap, but are instead complementary.

What is chronic kidney disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which your kidneys can’t filter blood the way they should due to damage. The disease is called “chronic” because damage to kidneys happens slowly over a long period of time. This damage can cause waste to build up in the body, which causes a range of other health problems.

What are the 5 stages of kidney disease?

Doctors have defined five distinct stages of chronic kidney disease, due to its slow progression. The patient’s stage is a key factor in determining treatment options, appropriate monitoring tests, and techniques for mitigating further damage. The stage is based on a metric called the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is the rate at which the kidneys filter blood, removing excess waste and fluid. The lower a patient’s GFR, the higher their stage. Learn more

How is a patient's stage of kidney function determined?

A routine blood test is used to check for elevated creatinine levels. An elevated creatinine level means that the kidneys aren’t functioning the way they should. Since a patient might not have any obvious symptoms of kidney disease, this test allows the physician to regularly monitor kidney function. The physician will combine creatinine level results with other factors, such as age, to estimate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). This rate determines the patient’s stage of kidney disease.

What can patients do to protect their kidney function?

There is no single answer, because patient's conditions vary widely. However, here are a few important steps that anyone can take, especially since patients with CKD may have more risk for heart disease:

  • Communicate kidney status to other medical professionals
  • Maintain healthy body weight and cholesterol
  • Manage high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses
  • Eat kidney-friendly foods low in sodium and potassium
  • Ensure that over-the-counter medications are safe for damaged kidneys
  • Quit smoking and stop using other tobacco products
How do I prepare for my first appointment?

For your convenience, we’ve provided digital versions of the forms you need to fill out and a checklist of everything you need to bring here.