Nephrology is a discipline of medicine that is involved in the the study of the normal function of kidneys, their problems, their treatment and renal replacement therapy which includes kidney transplantation and dialysis. Nephrologists are responsible for the optimum working of kidneys and the treatment of systematic problems like diabetes and autoimmune diseases that occur as a result of kidney problems like hypertension and renal osteodystrophy. Patients diagnosed with conditions such as kidney stones, chronic kidney disease and acute renal failure are referred to nephrologists by their GP.
What to expect from your nephrologist?
When diagnosed with chronic kidney disease you will have to undergo treatment for long periods, and it is important that you choose the right nephrologist, because your nephrologist and you will form a team to take good care of your health. Here are some criteria that a nephrologist must meet:
- The nephrologist should be able to communicate with you about your condition at a level that you understand.
- He/she must take the time to understand your condition, get to know you personally, listen to your problems, both health-related and personal, look at the whole picture and then help you take decisions.
- The nephrologist should be able to clear all the doubts you have regarding your condition or should be willing to find answers to your questions.
- The doctor and his/her staff should respect your time and should be able to maintain discipline and timeliness at your appointments.
- The doctor should be kind and friendly in manner, so you find it easy to approach him/her with your problems.
- When diagnosed with a kidney disease, you will have to keep meeting your nephrologist at regular intervals, so it is ideal that you find a doctor who is close to your office or home.
- If you have health insurance, make sure that the doctor you see accepts the insurance.
Working with your nephrologist
Kidney disease can be life-changing as it affects almost all areas of life. You have to be willing to work with your nephrologist to ensure that you get the optimal treatment for your condition. Developing a friendly bond with the nephrologist is the first step you will take toward the treatment for your condition. Your nephrologist will guide you in understanding what it is like to live with kidney disease, how to cope with the treatment and to maintain the quality of life you deserve.
Having a serious kidney disease will affect your life as well as the lives of those who care for you. Your nephrologist and you will have to think about:
- Balancing your family life along with your treatment
- Understanding the importance of all your medicines, your ability to afford the medicines and take them promptly
- Balancing your work with your treatment schedule
- Maintaining a positive outlook on life and the future
A good nephrologist will ensure that you have a full, satisfying and productive life in spite of your critical illness. The more involved your nephrologist is in your care, the better the quality of your life.