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Nephrologist

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Summary

Treat patients who have kidney diseases and disorders.

What does a Nephrologist do?

Small and often forgotten when listing vital organs, the kidneys play a key role in filtering the bloodstream. It’s a nephrologist’s job to step in when the kidneys stop doing their job. Nephrologists diagnose and treat diseases relating primarily to the kidneys and high blood pressure. They make the decisions on when dialysis or a kidney transplant is necessary to save a patient’s life.

As a nephrologist, a primary care physician serves as your first contact before you meet a new patient. If he suspects a patient has kidney troubles, then he sends the patient to you for diagnosis. You review each first-time visitor’s medical history, test blood or urine samples, and do a complete physical exam.

Once you have your test results, you start piecing together how to proceed. Medical work is like solving a puzzle: Each test result or checkup is another piece toward the final picture of the patient’s diagnosis.

Two common treatments include dialysis and blood pressure medication. You meet with these patients frequently to adjust medication dosages and redo lab tests. If you suspect cancer or if a kidney transplant is needed, then you send the patient to a urologist or a transplant center.

For the patients who stay at your center for treatment, you write out a treatment plan and assemble a team to cover the different aspects of treatment. As a nephrologist you typically do not perform surgery or administer treatments yourself. Instead, you lead your team by giving clear orders, and help your patients by providing accurate diagnoses.

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