What Does A Nephrologist Do?

Doctor urologist shows kidneys on a blue background; blog: What Does A Nephrologist Do?

If you know someone with a condition that affects their kidneys, you may have heard them talk about going to see a doctor called a nephrologist. You may know that a nephrologist is a kidney doctor, but you may not be familiar with all the services they provide. So what does a nephrologist do? Read on to find out.

What is a Nephrologist?

A nephrologist is a key part of a kidney patient’s healthcare team. Nephrologists are medical doctors that specialize in treating kidney disease. 

Conditions Treated by Nephrologists 

While all nephrologists are trained in diagnosing, treating, and managing conditions relating to the kidneys, some focus on certain areas. For example, the physicians in the Durham Nephrology Associates medical group primarily treat patients with chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure.

Kidney Conditions

Most of the time the answer to the question “what does a nephrologist do?” is that they diagnose and treat people with kidney conditions. These conditions may include:

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Kidney cancer
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney infections
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome

Conditions Related to Kidney Disease

Another answer to the question, “what does a nephrologist do?” is that they sometimes help patients with conditions that are related to kidney disease. These conditions include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune disorders

What Does a Nephrologist Do?

Now you know the conditions a nephrologist can diagnose, treat, and monitor. But what does a nephrologist do for those patients?

Procedures and Treatments

Nephrologists are experts at caring for patients with kidney disease and other conditions related to kidney disease. Therefore, they can provide a variety of services to kidney patients. Some of these services include:

  • Hemodialysis: Nephrologists are responsible for medical care during dialysis treatments. Hemodialysis is a type of dialysis that uses a machine with a special filter to clean the patient’s blood. 
  • Peritoneal dialysis: Peritoneal dialysis is a type of dialysis that uses the inside lining of the patient’s belly to act as a natural filter rather than the external machine used in hemodialysis. 
  • Kidney transplant: When a patient has ESKD or Kidney Failure, they either need to get a kidney transplant or dialysis as described above. Nephrologists are usually responsible for patient care before and after a kidney transplant. They are responsible for a transplant patient’s long-term follow-up care.
  • Management of high blood pressure: High blood pressure (hypertension) has the potential to cause issues with the kidneys. In fact, hypertension and CKD are closely linked. According to the National Kidney Foundation, high blood pressure is a leading cause of CKD. High blood pressure may also be a complication of CKD. Because the two conditions are intertwined, nephrologists are often involved in monitoring and managing patients with hypertension.
  • Nutritional counseling: Kidney patients often need to pay close attention to their diets as they manage their illness. This is especially true for patients on hemodialysis. A nephrologist can provide expert guidance on nutrition and diet. They can also refer you to a trusted renal nutritionist.

Make an Appointment With a Nephrologist

At Durham Nephrology, we provide comprehensive care to patients in Durham and Oxford, NC with kidney disease and high blood pressure. If you are still wondering “what does a nephrologist do?” or if you want to know if a neurologist could help you, call us at  919-477-3005 to talk to a staff member and make an appointment

When you visit our offices, you can be confident that we are taking the necessary precautions to protect the health of our patients as well as our staff. We are following all guidelines for sanitization, social distancing, and face coverings.


04.15.2024 4 Common Conditions That Impact Kidney Health

Durham Nephrology specializes in high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease, and in numerous past blogs, we’ve explained how interconnected these two health conditions are. However, it’s important to note that high blood pressure is just one of many conditions that impact kidney health. The systems within our body are interconnected, but there are some […]

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