Nephrologists, also known as kidney doctors, research the kidneys and the diseases that affect them. Following medical school and residency, they complete an additional two years of training. If your primary care or family doctor suspects that your kidneys aren't functioning properly, they may refer you to a nephrologist. They will look for the source of the problem and devise a treatment plan to slow or stop it. You may need a referral from your primary care physician in order for your insurance to cover the cost of your visit. Nephrologists treat the following diseases: Kidney failure. This occurs when your kidneys are gradually harmed. You may not experience severe symptoms until the disease has progressed. However, if your doctor detects it early, medications and lifestyle changes may help you avoid further harm. Failure of the kidneys. This is the most advanced stage of kidney disease. If your nephrologist recommends dialysis (a machine that cleans your blood), they will be in charge of your care. They might also recommend a kidney transplant. Typically, this is handled by a separate team and a nephrologist who specializes in transplants. You'll most likely continue to see this person until and after your transplant. Cancer causes kidney damage. Several types of cancer, as well as their treatments, can harm your kidneys. Damage can take the form of blocked urine flow, toxin buildup in the kidneys, or sudden kidney failure.
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