Nephrology is a branch of medical science that deals with diseases of the kidneys.
What do the kidneys do?
The kidneys are vital for life with their complex network of blood vessels and intricate network of tubes and tubules that filter blood of its waste products and excess water.
The kidneys maintain the fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base regulation that are altered by several disease conditions as well as drugs and toxins.
Diseases under the branch of nephrology
Nephrology deals with study of the normal working of the kidneys as well as its diseases. The diseases that come under the scope of nephrology include.
Glomerular disorders that affect the tiny filtering systems of the kidneys called the glomerulus
Urine abnormalities such as excess excretion of protein, sugar, blood, casts, crystals etc.
Tubulointerstitial diseases affecting the tubules in the kidneys
Renal vascular diseases affecting the blood vessel networks within the kidneys
Renal failure that can be sudden or acute or long term or chronic Kidney and bladder stones Kidney infections
Cancers of the kidneys, bladder, and urethra
Effects of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure on kidneys
Acid base imbalances
Nephrotic syndrome and nephritis
Ill effects of drugs and toxins on the kidneys
Dialysis and its long term complications - dialysis includes hemodialysis as well as peritoneal dialysis Autoimmune diseases including autoimmune vasculitis, lupus, etc.
Polycystic kidneys diseases where large cysts or fluid filled sacs are formed within the kidney impairing its functions - this is a congenital and inherited or genetic condition Hydronephrosis
In the United States of America, the National Kidney Foundation is an organization set up for nephrology and nephrologists.
In 1966, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) was founded that forms world’s largest professional society dedicated to nephrology.
The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) is a non-profit group that deals with chronic kidney diseases and dialysis.
In the United Kingdom the National Kidney Federation and the Renal Association are dedicated to nephrology. Related Stories
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The researchers hope that the findings provide greater awareness of patients' emotional experience of illness and care. "This is a dimension of chronic illness that can be of immense importance to patients that is often invisible to clinicians. We hope that this work will heighten sensitivity among clinicians, health system leadership, and policy-makers to patients' emotional experience of illness and the ways in which providers and health systems work may unintentionally contribute to patients' emotional distress."
In an accompanying Patient Voice editorial, Denise Eilers, BSN, RN, provides a perspective based on her dual roles as a registered nurse and a former home hemodialysis care partner for her husband. She noted that the study is especially timely given the large number of aging baby boomers in society. "That generation, of which I am a member, has been described in various terms such as goal oriented, self sufficient, questioning and involved," she wrote. "The sheer numbers of these older non-traditional adults will make it necessary to move the needle further toward shared decision making as in the interpretive model. This study offers a guide from which to develop tools to facilitate discussions
For patients with advanced kidney disease, interactions with clinicians and with the wider health system, combined with patients' own struggle to understand their illness, can exact a large emotional toll. The findings, which come from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), indicate that a deeper appreciation of patients' emotional experiences may offer important opportunities to improve care.