Developing a warm, trusting and collaborative relationship with your kidney doctor-or nephrologist- is an important step in managing your disease. Your nephrologist is your partner and guide, along with your family and friends, to understanding what life is like for someone with kidney disease, and how best to adapt to treatments and medications while maintaining the quality of life you deserve.
Having serious kidney disease is a significant transition both for you and for your family, but your kidney disease does not have to become your life. You and your nephrologist will need to think about how to:
- Balance your home life with your treatments
- Ensure you understand all of your medicines and are able to afford to buy them, as well as take them as prescribed
- Continue working despite having a treatment schedule that might interfere with your job
- Maintain a positive attitude about your life and your future.
Yes, these are important challenges, but our advice to patients is to face them head-on, to discuss them openly with their nephrologist and their family, and to take advantage of available resources such as psychologists and other patients. When you have an appointment with your doctor, make a list before going to the office of all the questions and concerns you have, and make sure you cover all of them during the visit.
One of the greatest joys for us at DaVita has been working with kidney patients and their families as they approach the need for a transplant or dialysis, and watching them realize that they can have full, satisfying and productive lives despite being ill. It is clear that more involved they are in their care, the better their quality of life, no matter what the kidney disease throws their way. Their courage-and yours- is an inspiration to us.
Top 5 questions to Ask a Nephrologist
- How can I lead a “normal” life when I go on a dialysis?
- How can I keep working?
- What will my quality of life be?
- What resources are available to help manage my health?
- How important is it for me to manage my medications and diet?