Kidney disease is a multifaceted problem having both physical and psychological effect on the patient. To be successful in overcoming these challenges, one requires an interdisciplinary treatment approach and a good renal care support team. The backbone of this renal care team is the Nephrologist. A Nephrologist is a physician specialized in diagnosing and treating diseases of the kidneys. The list of diseases commonly treated by nephrologist includes: glomerular disorders, urine abnormalities, tubulointerstitial diseases, renal vascular diseases, renal failure, kidney infections, cancer of the kidneys, polycystic kidneys diseases, hydronephrosis and kidney diseases resulting from diabetes, hypertension.
Apart from the Nephrologist the team includes; advanced practitioner, Nephrology nurse, renal dietitian and patient care technician. Each of the team members contributes towards patient’s good health.
7 critical roles of Nephrologist in Kidney Treatment
1. Establishing a plan of care is one of the core responsibilities of the Nephrologists. The Nephrologists are ‘Chronic Disease Managers’ specialized at developing individualized plan of care. Each patient is unique, in many aspects like condition, response to treatment, co morbid conditions and prescription drugs. Hence, an individualized care plan is required which helps you manage the disease well.
2. Values patient’s preferences, fears and concerns through a shared decision making process. The Nephrologists involves the patient and care givers in all stages of illness which requires decision making. For instance, while choosing the right dialysis modality a Nephrologist educates and provides all information on pros and cons of each modality and thereby helping the patient select the right one based on their condition and lifestyle.
3. With their multidisciplinary approach and patient centered care they are able to slow the disease progression, reduce complications and increase survival rate of kidney disease patients. The Nephrologists along with your advanced care physician helps you manage diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes that can aggravate the kidney dialysis disease. In addition, the Nephrologist also reviews the prescription regularly to identify any harmful drug interaction and to screen risky drugs.
4. Nephrologists are experts with necessary skill-set to care, manage and treat patients with kidney disease across the entire spectrum of disease. Nephrologists use latest medical tools, techniques and advanced regimens to optimize patient outcome across the entire spectrum of disease.
5. Nephrologists play an important role in assisting the patients adapt to chronic kidney disease by helping them to understand their condition better and develop positive attitude concerning their illness. This is done by educating the patients and the care givers. Also providing them links to resource centers, web based platforms and patient support groups.
6. Nephrologists provide early nephrology care and patient counseling which can delay worsening of kidney function and also decrease mortality. Depending upon the patient’s illness Nephrologist along with the renal dietitian suggest dietary and lifestyle changes to the patient.
7. Role of Nephrologists during transplant is critical. They provide pre and post transplant care to the patient. Pre-transplant period care includes testing to ensure safety and ability to tolerate anti-rejection medicines that are important post transplantation. During the post-transplant, the Nephrologist closely monitors patient’s kidney function, any signs of rejection, checking/ altering and monitoring adverse drug reactions of immunosuppressant drugs.

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