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Nephrologists manage the many conditions that cause renal impairment and renal (kidney) failure. Their goal is to optimise renal function. If a patient’s kidneys fail completely they will need dialysis - essentially artificial kidneys. Patients survive many years on dialysis, either chronic ambulatory peritoneal dialysis or haemodialysis. Nephrologists care for these patients and any complications of their disease. They also manage patients who have had kidney transplants.
The treatment offered by nephrologists varies depending on the cause of the kidney problem and its severity. They may give medications alone. They may initiate and maintain dialysis - artificial kidney function - either CAPD or haemodialysis. They may arrange renal transplant and then manage that in the long term.
Your nephrologist will begin by asking about your symptoms, their duration, severity and events leading up to your current illness. Past medical problems, medications, family history, allergies and social history are also very important.
Your neprologist will begin with a general examination, checking your pulse and blood pressure, looking at your hands, arms, eyes and neck. Then they are likely to examine your heart and lungs and finally your abdomen to try to determine the cause, severity and complications of your kidney problems.
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