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Graphic showing a woman taking notes and a doctor with a magnifying glass looking at a focused version of the kidney

Common Kidney Health Myths

 

Common Kidney Health Myths

The kidneys are vital organs that play a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. However, several misconceptions surrounding kidney health need to be addressed. In this blog post, we'll debunk common kidney health myths and provide accurate information to help you better understand your kidney health.

At Midwest Nephrology, our team of experienced nephrologists is committed to providing comprehensive care and education to support your kidney health journey. Whether you have questions about kidney health myths or need guidance on managing kidney disease, we're here to help.

Graphic showing a woman taking notes and a doctor with a magnifying glass looking at a focused version of the kidney

Myth 1: Kidney Disease Always Comes with Back or Side Pain

Reality: While kidney infections, stones, or cysts can cause severe discomfort, kidney disease often progresses silently, with no noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Regular check-ups and kidney function tests are crucial for early detection.

Myth 2: Alcohol Causes Kidney Disease

Reality: While heavy drinking can harm the kidneys over time, kidney disease is typically caused by factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, and genetic predisposition. Moderate alcohol consumption, in the absence of these risk factors, is unlikely to lead to kidney disease.

Myth 3: You Need to Drink 8 Full Glasses of Water to Flush Your Kidneys Daily

Reality: While staying hydrated is essential, your water needs vary depending on age, activity level, and climate. Listen to your body and drink when thirsty, avoiding overhydration, which can strain the kidneys.

Myth 4: Frequent Urination Is a Sign of Healthy Kidneys

Reality: Frequent urination can indicate various health issues, including diabetes and urinary tract infections. Diseased kidneys may produce large amounts of urine while not removing waste products, leading to frequent urination and increased thirst.

Myth 5: Chronic Kidney Disease Is Uncommon

Reality: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is prevalent, affecting millions worldwide. Regular health check-ups can help identify CKD in its early stages when interventions are most effective, especially for those with risk factors like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Myth 6: You Will Know If You Have Kidney Disease

Reality: Kidney disease often progresses silently, with no symptoms until advanced stages. Regular kidney function tests are essential for early detection and treatment, especially for those with risk factors or a family history of kidney disease.

Myth 7: Dialysis Is the Only Treatment for Kidney Disease

Reality: While dialysis is vital for severe kidney failure, kidney disease can often be managed through medication, dietary changes, and lifestyle adjustments in its earlier stages. Kidney transplantation is another option for those with end-stage kidney disease.

Myth 8: Chronic Kidney Disease Is Genetic and Cannot Be Prevented

Reality: While genetics can affect kidney disease risk, lifestyle factors significantly impact kidney health. Taking proactive steps like maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing CKD or slow its progression.

Myth 9: People With One Kidney Cannot Participate In Physical Activity

Reality: Physical exercise is encouraged for individuals with one kidney as it promotes overall health. However, some contact sports that may pose a risk of injury to the remaining kidney should be avoided.

Myth 10: People With One Kidney Can't Have Children

Reality: Despite requiring closer monitoring, individuals with one kidney can safely conceive and have children. It's crucial to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized guidance.

Contact Midwest Nephrology Today

The nephrologists at Midwest Nephrology specialize in diagnosing and treating various kidney conditions, ensuring you receive personalized care tailored to your unique needs. We believe in empowering our patients with knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about their health.

If you're looking for reliable information about kidney health or seeking expert guidance from nephrology specialists, Midwest Nephrology is your trusted partner. Schedule a consultation with us today to learn more about how we can support you on your kidney health journey. Remember, when it comes to kidney health, always trust your nephrologist for accurate information and guidance.

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Staying Fit with Kidney Disease

 

Staying Fit with Kidney Disease

Living with kidney disease doesn't mean giving up on staying active and fit. Regular exercise can significantly improve your well-being and energy levels, even with kidney disease. However, it's essential to approach exercise cautiously and seek guidance from your nephrologist before starting any fitness regimen. Your nephrologist can provide personalized recommendations based on your health status and help you create a safe and effective exercise plan tailored to your needs. Regular monitoring by a nephrologist is crucial for individuals with kidney disease to ensure optimal health outcomes and prevent any potential complications. Below, we'll discuss some fitness tips and calming yoga poses to support your overall health and well-being while living with kidney disease.

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Benefits of Exercise for Kidney Disease

Engaging in regular physical activity offers a multitude of benefits for individuals with kidney disease. Exercise helps improve muscle strength, energy levels, and overall physical functioning. It can also aid in better blood pressure control, reduce the risk of diabetes, and promote better sleep. Additionally, exercise has been shown to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, contributing to improved mental health. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can enhance your quality of life and better manage your kidney disease.

Fitness Routines for Kidney Disease

When choosing the right exercise routine for kidney disease, focusing on gentle activities that still provide effective results is essential. Opt for low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga, as these activities help improve cardiovascular health without putting undue stress on the joints. Incorporating stretching and flexibility exercises can also help improve mobility and reduce stiffness in muscles and joints. Strength training exercises using light weights or resistance bands can help build muscle mass and improve overall strength.

Incorporating calming yoga poses into your routine can help reduce stress, improve circulation, and support kidney health. Remember to listen to your body and practice mindfulness during your yoga practice. Calming yoga poses to incorporate into your fitness routine for kidney disease include:

  • Child's Pose (Balasana): This gentle yoga pose stretches the back, hips, and thighs while promoting relaxation. To perform the Child's Pose, kneel on the floor, sit back on your heels, and fold your torso forward, resting your forehead on the ground. Extend your arms forward or rest them by your sides.
  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): The Seated Forward
    Bend is a soothing pose that stretches the spine, hamstrings, and lower back.
    Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your toes flexed.
    Inhale to lengthen your spine, then exhale to hinge forward from the hips,
    reaching for your feet or shins.
  • Corpse Pose (Savasana): Savasana is a deeply relaxing pose that allows your body to rest and rejuvenate. Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, palms facing up, and legs extended. Close your eyes, relax your muscles, and focus on your breath as you release tension and stress.

Schedule an Appointment with a Nephrologist in the Milwaukee, WI Area

At Midwest Nephrology, we are committed to providing individualized care and guidance to our patients, providing the best possible care for each kidney condition. Being one of Wisconsin’s longest-operating and largest nephrology groups, you can easily find a Midwest Nephrology location with a team of providers ready to assist you in diagnosing and treating your kidney concerns. Contact Midwest Nephrology Associates for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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Doctor holding kidney model on desk

The Differences Between a Urologist and Nephrologist

 

The Differences Between a Urologist and Nephrologist

Choosing between a nephrologist and a urologist can sometimes be confusing, given the interconnected nature of kidney, bladder, and urinary tract health. However, understanding their respective specialties can help you make an informed decision about which medical professional is right for you. While there is some overlap between nephrology and urology, particularly regarding kidney-related conditions, there are distinct differences in their areas of expertise. Some medical practices may have nephrologists and urologists working together to provide comprehensive care for patients with complex kidney and urinary tract issues. Ultimately, the primary difference lies in the focus of each specialty: nephrologists concentrate on kidney-related conditions. At the same time, urologists address a broader range of urinary tract and male reproductive system disorders. Depending on your specific health concerns, consulting with the appropriate specialist ensures you receive the most effective and tailored treatment.

Doctor holding kidney model on desk

How to Know Which is Right for You: Nephrologist or Urologist

If you have any issues related to your kidneys or kidney function, a nephrologist is the specialist you need. They are trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent various kidney conditions, including chronic kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes-related kidney issues, and inflammation.

If you're dealing with conditions affecting the urinary tract beyond the kidneys, such as bladder problems, urinary incontinence, or male reproductive system issues like erectile dysfunction or male infertility, a urologist is the appropriate specialist to consult. Additional differences between nephrology and urology are:

Nephrology

  • Nephrologists specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases related explicitly to the kidneys and urinary system.
  • Nephrologists manage conditions such as chronic kidney disease, kidney stones, and kidney failure, along with addressing complications from other diseases affecting kidney function.
  • Services provided include kidney transplants and various dialysis treatments.

Urology

  • Urologists focus on diagnosing, treating, and managing diseases and disorders of the entire urinary tract, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra, as well as male reproductive organs.
  • They handle conditions like urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and male reproductive health issues such as erectile dysfunction and male infertility.
  • Urologists often specialize in surgical procedures related to the urinary tract and male reproductive system.

Schedule an Appointment with a Nephrologist in the Milwaukee, WI Area

At Midwest Nephrology, we are committed to providing individualized care and guidance to our patients, providing the best possible care for each kidney condition. Being one of Wisconsin’s longest-operating and largest nephrology groups, you can easily find a Midwest Nephrology location at with a team of providers ready to assist you in diagnosing and treating your kidney concerns. Contact Midwest Nephrology Associates for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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Holding human kidneys model with variety of healthy fresh food on the table. Concept of balanced nutrition for kidneys health

Foods to Avoid with Kidney Disease

 

Foods to Avoid with Kidney Disease

Your diet is crucial in supporting kidney health, and being mindful of certain foods can make a significant difference in managing your condition. Certain foods can strain your kidneys and cause further damage to your health. Regular monitoring by a nephrologist is essential in managing kidney disease. They can help you determine which diet is best for you, develop a personalized treatment plan, and track your progress to ensure you're taking the right steps to support your kidney health. Continue reading to learn more about which foods to avoid with kidney disease.

Holding human kidneys model with variety of healthy fresh food on the table. Concept of balanced nutrition for kidneys health

Understanding Your Kidneys' Vital Functions:

Before understanding dietary recommendations for kidney disease, it's essential to understand the vital functions your kidneys perform:

  • Filtering Your Blood: Your kidneys act as natural filters, removing waste and excess fluids from your bloodstream and preventing a buildup of toxins.
  • Removing Waste: The waste collected during filtration is excreted through urine, a crucial process for maintaining a healthy internal environment.
  • Producing Hormones: Kidneys produce hormones that regulate blood pressure, red blood cell production, and calcium metabolism.
  • Balancing Minerals: Kidneys play a pivotal role in maintaining the balance of essential minerals like sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.
  • Maintaining Fluid Balance: Kidneys help regulate fluid levels, preventing dehydration or excessive fluid retention.

Foods To Avoid

Foods that are high in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus should be avoided. These foods can increase the workload on your kidneys and worsen your condition. It is essential to be monitored by a nephrologist who can help you understand your dietary restrictions based on your stage of kidney disease. People with early stages of kidney disease will have different dietary restrictions than those with end-stage renal disease or kidney failure.

  • Dark-Colored Soda: High amounts of phosphorus.
  • Avocados: High in potassium.
  • Canned Foods: High in sodium.
  • Whole Wheat Bread: High in phosphorus and potassium.
  • Brown Rice: High in phosphorus.
  • Bananas: High in potassium.
  • Dairy: Products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are high in phosphorus and calcium.
  • Oranges and Orange Juice: High in potassium.
  • Processed Meats: Products like bacon, sausage, and deli meats are high in sodium.
  • Pickles, Olives, and Relish: High in sodium.
  • Apricots: High in potassium.
  • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes: High in potassium and phosphorus.
  • Tomatoes: High in potassium.
  • Tomatoes: High in potassium.
    Packaged, Instant, and Pre-Made Meals
    :High in sodium.
  • Swiss Chard, Spinach, and Beet Greens: High in potassium.
  • Dates, Raisins, and Prunes: High in potassium.
  • Dates, Raisins, and Prunes: High in potassium.
    Pretzels, Chips, and Crackers
    : High in sodium.

It's crucial to note that the specific dietary restrictions may vary depending on the stage of kidney disease. Individuals with early stages of chronic kidney disease will have different dietary guidelines than those with end-stage renal disease or kidney failure. Always consult your nephrologist to determine which diet is recommended for your needs.

Health & Wellness Tips for Kidney Health:

  1. Hydration is Key: Stay hydrated to support kidney function. Water is the best choice; limit sugary drinks and sodas.
  2. Mindful Protein Intake: Opt for high-quality protein sources like lean meats, fish, and eggs while monitoring your protein intake.
  3. Control Portion Sizes: Manage portion sizes to avoid overloading your kidneys with excessive nutrients.
  4. Limit Salt Intake: Reduce sodium intake to maintain a healthy blood pressure and fluid balance.
  5. Regular Monitoring by a Nephrologist: Consult with a nephrologist regularly to track your kidney health, ensuring timely adjustments to your dietary plan.

Living with kidney disease requires a holistic approach, and your diet plays a pivotal role. By being mindful of the foods you consume and following a kidney-friendly routine, you can contribute to the overall well-being of your kidneys. Remember, regular consultations with a nephrologist are essential for personalized guidance and monitoring throughout your journey with kidney disease.

Schedule an Appointment with a Nephrologist in the Milwaukee, WI Area

At Midwest Nephrology, we are committed to providing individualized care and guidance to our patients, providing the best possible care for each kidney condition. Being one of Wisconsin’s longest-operating and largest nephrology groups, you can easily find a Midwest Nephrology location with a team of providers ready to assist you in diagnosing and treating your kidney concerns. Contact Midwest Nephrology Associates for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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Old Woman Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal dialysis at home.

How Home Dialysis Works

 

How Home Dialysis Works

As the demands of modern life continue to grow, finding time for in-center dialysis appointments can be a significant challenge for many individuals with kidney issues. Home hemodialysis offers a compelling alternative, allowing patients the flexibility to integrate their treatment seamlessly into their daily routines. At Midwest Nephrology, we aim to guide you through the process of at-home dialysis, emphasizing the crucial role of collaboration with your healthcare professional. Achieving successful home dialysis requires careful planning tailored to your unique condition, ensuring a personalized and effective treatment regimen. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of home hemodialysis.

Old Woman Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal dialysis at home.

Different Types of Home Hemodialysis

Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) is a form of at-home hemodialysis that revolutionizes the way individuals manage kidney failure. Unlike traditional hemodialysis, which relies on machines, CAPD is performed continuously without the need for complicated equipment. Patients can administer treatments themselves, typically engaging in the process three to five times each day. This flexibility allows for integration into everyday life, and CAPD can be performed in any clean and safe environment, offering patients the freedom to choose the setting that suits their preferences and lifestyle.

Automated peritoneal dialysis (APD)

Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD) represents a sophisticated advancement in at-home hemodialysis, streamlining the process with the assistance of a specialized machine called a "cycler." Unlike Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD), APD is an automated procedure that allows individuals to administer their dialysis exchanges without constant manual intervention. Also referred to as Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD), APD provides patients with a range of scheduling options. Whether opting for a long single session during sleep, multiple shorter sessions throughout the day, or even a combination of both, individuals can tailor their treatment to better align with their daily routines.

Schedule an Appointment with a Nephrologist in the Milwaukee, WI area

At Midwest Nephrology, we are committed to providing individualized care and guidance to our patients, providing the best possible care for each kidney condition. Being one of Wisconsin’s longest-operating and largest nephrology groups, you can easily find a Midwest Nephrology location with a team of providers ready to assist you in diagnosing and treating your kidney concerns. Contact Midwest Nephrology Associates for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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pink pills in the shame of kidneys on a blue background

What Medicine Improves Kidney Filtration?

 

What Medicine Improves Kidney Filtration?

Understanding the factors that contribute to improved kidney filtration is crucial for overall renal health. To comprehend how medicines can positively impact kidney filtration, it is crucial to first grasp the functions of the kidneys. Kidneys are the body's natural filtration system, which removes waste and excess fluid from the blood, regulates electrolyte balance, and maintains overall homeostasis. Below, we delve into the intersection of medicine and diagnostic tests, how they both play a pivotal role in improving kidney function and in which circumstances your provider may prescribe each treatment.

It's essential to recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for kidney health. By undergoing diagnostic tests, your nephrologist can better understand your renal function. With the results of diagnostic tests, healthcare providers at Midwest Nephrology will craft a personalized treatment plan, incorporating medications that align with specific needs to enhance kidney filtration.

pink pills in the shame of kidneys on a blue background

Medications That Improve Kidney Filtration

Following diagnostic tests, your nephrologist may suggest medications that have shown promise in enhancing kidney filtration. Always trust your physician's recommendations as they consider your specific circumstances. Medications such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) may be prescribed to manage hypertension and optimize kidney function. Similarly, diuretics, or "water pills," can be recommended for fluid level imbalances. Your physician ensures that your medication and treatment plan align with your unique needs to enhance kidney filtration effectively.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

Your physician may recommend ACE inhibitors, recognizing their dual benefits in addressing hypertension and improving kidney function. These medications work by inhibiting the production of angiotensin II, a hormone that constricts blood vessels. ACE inhibitors contribute to the dilation of blood vessels, alleviating pressure on the kidneys and ultimately enhancing kidney health. Trust your physician's judgment, especially if hypertension is a concern, for a comprehensive approach to managing blood pressure and renal well-being.

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)

When kidney strain is a concern, your physician may recommend ARBs as part of your treatment plan. Similar to ACE inhibitors, ARBs focus on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. ARBs effectively block the action of angiotensin II, reducing pressure on the kidneys and managing blood pressure. Trust your physician's expertise, as ARBs are crucial in preserving optimal kidney function as part of your personalized treatment strategy.

Diuretics

Your nephrologist may suggest diuretics or "water pills" based on your unique situation. Diuretics boost urine production to regulate fluid levels, alleviating the workload on your kidneys. Your physician tailors your treatment plan to your specific challenges, ensuring a targeted approach for more efficient filtration and enhanced kidney function.

The Importance of Diagnostic Tests

While medications are vital in improving kidney filtration, diagnostic tests are the foundation of personalized care. Always follow your physician's guidance, as mandatory tests like glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and creatinine clearance provide essential insights into your renal health. These diagnostics serve as a compass, guiding healthcare professionals to craft the most effective medication regimen tailored to your individual needs. Trust your physician's expertise in utilizing diagnostic tests to enhance your kidney health.

Schedule an Appointment with a Nephrologist in the Milwaukee, WI Area

At Midwest Nephrology, we are committed to providing individualized care and guidance to our patients, providing the best possible care for each kidney condition. Being one of Wisconsin’s longest-operating and largest nephrology groups, you can easily find a Midwest Nephrology location with a team of providers ready to assist you in diagnosing and treating your kidney concerns. Contact Midwest Nephrology Associates for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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hands holiding red heart with kidney

Why High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Kidney Failure

Why High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Kidney Failure

About 108 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure, and about 37 million people have chronic kidney disease. Blood pressure is measured by the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls as your heart continues to pump out blood. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the increase of that force on blood vessels as blood moves through the body. Your kidneys filter your blood, about half a cup per minute. They do this to remove waste and excess water to make urine. So, how can high blood pressure lead to kidney failure? High blood pressure can narrow your blood vessels, which harms them and makes them weaker throughout the body, thus reducing blood flow and affecting your kidneys.

This becomes an issue for your kidneys if the blood vessels become damaged, as they may no longer work properly and remove waste and extra fluid. Having excess fluid in this cycle can cause you to raise your blood pressure even more and lead to kidney failure. Keep reading to learn more about how you and your doctor can diagnose and catch kidney disease before it worsens due to high blood pressure.

hands holiding red heart with kidney

 

First Stage Kidney Disease Symptoms

Kidney failure first-stage symptoms can be subtle and may not be noticed until the disease has progressed. So, how do you know if you're in the first stage of kidney disease? It's crucial to be aware of the subtle hints your body might be giving you. While the symptoms may not be obvious, there are symptoms you can look out for. Here are some first-stage kidney failure symptoms to watch out for:

  • Fatigue: You may begin to feel unusually tired, even after a full night's sleep.
  • Changes in Urination: Pay attention to any changes in the frequency or color of your urine. You may notice that you're urinating more frequently, or it may appear foamy or darker than usual.
  • Swelling: Kidney dysfunction can lead to fluid retention, causing swelling in your ankles, feet, or face.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: As waste products build up in your bloodstream, you might experience difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly.
  • Increased Thirst: You might find yourself drinking more water than usual due to excessive thirst.

Common Kidney Disease Tests

If you suspect that you have kidney disease, several tests can be completed to diagnose it. Kidney disease diagnosis is vital for early intervention and management. These tests include:

  • Blood Pressure Measurement: Hypertension is a common cause of kidney disease. Monitoring your blood pressure can reveal potential issues.
  • Urinalysis: A simple urine test can detect protein or blood in your urine, which can be signs of kidney problems.
  • Blood Tests: A simple urine test can detect protein or blood in your urine, which can be signs of kidney problems.
  • Imaging: Imaging tests like ultrasounds or CT scans can identify structural abnormalities in the kidneys.
  • Kidney Biopsy: In some cases, a kidney biopsy may be necessary to determine the extent of kidney damage.

Schedule an Appointment with a Nephrologist in the Milwaukee, WI Area

At Midwest Nephrology, we are committed to providing individualized care and guidance to our patients, providing the best possible care for each kidney condition. Being one of Wisconsin’s longest-operating and largest nephrology groups, you can easily find a Midwest Nephrology location with a team of providers ready to assist you in diagnosing and treating your kidney concerns. Contact Midwest Nephrology Associates for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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Doctor showing a model of kidneys by their chest

What is the First Stage of Kidney Disease?

What is the First Stage of Kidney Disease?

Kidneys diligently filter out waste and excess fluids from our blood, maintaining a delicate balance of electrolytes. But what happens when these essential organs start to fail? Let's delve into the first stages of kidney failure and understand how this condition unfolds.

During the first stages of kidney failure, the kidneys cannot filter waste products from the blood as efficiently as they should. This can lead to a buildup of toxins in the body, which can cause various health problems. Multiple factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain medications, can cause kidney disease.

Kidney disease is a severe condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a progressive disease that can lead to kidney failure if left untreated. The 1st stage of kidney disease is when the kidneys start to lose their ability to function correctly. This stage is also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 1. In this stage, the kidneys still function normally, but there are some signs of damage.

Doctor showing a model of kidneys by their chest

 

First Stage Kidney Disease Symptoms

Kidney failure first-stage symptoms can be subtle and may not be noticed until the disease has progressed. So, how do you know if you're in the first stage of kidney disease? It's crucial to be aware of the subtle hints your body might be giving you. While the symptoms may not be obvious, there are symptoms you can look out for. Here are some first-stage kidney failure symptoms to watch out for:

  • Fatigue: You may begin to feel unusually tired, even after a full night's sleep.
  • Changes in Urination: Pay attention to any changes in the frequency or color of your urine. You may notice that you're urinating more frequently, or it may appear foamy or darker than usual.
  • Swelling: Kidney dysfunction can lead to fluid retention, causing swelling in your ankles, feet, or face.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: As waste products build up in your bloodstream, you might experience difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly.
  • Increased Thirst: You might find yourself drinking more water than usual due to excessive thirst.

Common Kidney Disease Tests

If you suspect that you have kidney disease, several tests can be completed to diagnose it. Kidney disease diagnosis is vital for early intervention and management. These tests include:

  • Blood Pressure Measurement: Hypertension is a common cause of kidney disease. Monitoring your blood pressure can reveal potential issues.
  • Urinalysis: A simple urine test can detect protein or blood in your urine, which can be signs of kidney problems.
  • Blood Tests: A simple urine test can detect protein or blood in your urine, which can be signs of kidney problems.
  • Imaging: Imaging tests like ultrasounds or CT scans can identify structural abnormalities in the kidneys.
  • Kidney Biopsy: In some cases, a kidney biopsy may be necessary to determine the extent of kidney damage.

Schedule an Appointment with a Nephrologist in the Milwaukee, WI Area

At Midwest Nephrology, we are committed to providing individualized care and guidance to our patients, providing the best possible care for each kidney condition. Being one of Wisconsin’s longest-operating and largest nephrology groups, you can easily find a Midwest Nephrology location with a team of providers ready to assist you in diagnosing and treating your kidney concerns. Contact Midwest Nephrology Associates for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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Kidney test vial being held over results sheet

Kidney Testing

Overview of Kidney Test Functions

Regular kidney testing is crucial in maintaining optimal kidney health and detecting potential issues early on. During a routine check-up, your healthcare provider may order a series of kidney function tests to assess the health and functionality of your kidneys. These tests aim to measure various parameters that indicate kidney function and identify potential kidney diseases. The severity of these tests usually varies depending on the individual's medical history, risk factors, and symptoms.

Starting with the most basic test, a urinalysis examines a urine sample for the presence of protein, red blood cells, white blood cells, and other substances. Urinalysis helps identify early signs of kidney damage or infection.

Blood tests, such as serum creatine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN), are commonly performed. These tests assess the levels of waste products in the blood, typically filtered by the kidneys. Elevated levels may indicate impaired kidney function.

More specialized tests like glomerular filtration rate (GFR) estimation can provide a more accurate measure of kidney function. GFR measures how effectively the kidneys filter waste from the blood.

In cases where more severe kidney diseases are suspected, additional tests may be ordered. These may include imaging tests like ultrasounds or CT scans to evaluate the kidneys’ size, shape, and abnormalities. Biopsy, which involves extracting a small sample of kidney tissue for examination, may be conducted to diagnose the underlying cause of kidney dysfunction.

What Each Kidney Function Test Looks For?

 

What Each Kidney Function Test Looks For

Kidney function testing identifies potential kidney diseases and assesses the kidney’s overall health and performance. Below is an overview of what each kidney test looks for:

  • Urinalysis: This test checks for the presence of abnormal substances in the urine, such as Albumin, a protein that can pass into the urine when the kidneys are damaged.
  • Serum Creatinine and BUN: These blood tests measure waste product levels in the blood. Elevated levels suggest impaired kidney function or other kidney-related issues.
  • GFR Blood Test: Glomerular filtration rate estimates the kidneys' ability to filter waste from the blood. A low GFR may indicate reduced kidney function.
    Imaging Tests: Ultrasounds and CT scans provide visual images of the kidneys, helping identify abnormalities, such as kidney stones or tumors.
  • Kidney Biopsy: In some cases, a kidney biopsy may be necessary to diagnose specific kidney diseases by examining a small sample of kidney tissue.

Regular kidney testing is essential, as it allows healthcare professionals to detect kidney disease early on, monitor kidney function, and implement appropriate treatments to prevent further damage. Suppose you experience frequent urination, blood in urine, or persistent fatigue. In that case, scheduling an appointment for kidney testing is essential to maintaining kidney health.

Schedule an Appointment with a Nephrologist in the Milwaukee, WI Area

At Midwest Nephrology, we are committed to providing individualized care and guidance to our patients, providing the best possible care for each kidney condition. Being one of Wisconsin’s longest-operating and largest nephrology groups, you can easily find a Midwest Nephrology location with a team of providers ready to assist you in diagnosing and treating your kidney concerns. Contact Midwest Nephrology Associates for more information about kidney testing and to schedule a consultation.

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Nurse wearing face mask stretching and getting ready to help implement a medical procedure

Kidney Biopsy Procedure, Risks, and Recovery Time

Kidney Biopsy Procedure, Risks, and Recovery Time

A kidney biopsy is a medical procedure used to diagnose and assess kidney conditions and kidney disease. Kidney biopsies involve obtaining a small sample of kidney tissue for examination under a microscope. Kidney biopsy reasons may vary, though your healthcare provider may order a kidney biopsy for an unexplained drop in kidney function, chronic blood in urine, protein found in urine, or following a kidney transplant.

 

How Long Does a Kidney Biopsy Procedure Take?

A kidney biopsy is a medical procedure used to diagnose and assess kidney conditions and kidney disease. Kidney biopsies involve obtaining a small sample of kidney tissue for examination under a microscope. Kidney biopsy reasons may vary, though your healthcare provider may order a kidney biopsy for an unexplained drop in kidney function, chronic blood in urine, protein found in urine, or following a kidney transplant. 

During a kidney biopsy, two main techniques are commonly used: open biopsy and needle biopsy. An open biopsy is a more invasive procedure that involves making a small incision in the back or side to access the kidney directly. Open biopsies are performed under general anesthesia and the kidney biopsy procedure time can be from one to two hours. More commonly used is a needle biopsy or renal biopsy. Needle biopsies are minimally invasive and involve inserting a thin needle through the skin and into the kidney to collect the tissue sample. Needle biopsies are typically performed under local anesthesia and take approximately 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Kidney biopsies are generally safe, though risks include discomfort around the biopsy site, bleeding from the kidney, and infection.

What Are the Risk and Recovery Time After a Kidney Biopsy?

Depending on the kidney biopsy performed and your healthcare provider’s preferences, kidney biopsy procedure recovery time can vary. As the anesthesia wears off, you will be taken to a recovery room for observation and monitoring. You will be asked to lay on your back for several hours while a nurse checks for signs of bleeding. When your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable you may be taken to a hospital room or discharged. 

Following a kidney biopsy, it is recommended to rest for 24 to 48 hours and limit physical activity. You should avoid strenuous physical activities for the first week following the procedure, avoiding activities like jogging, tennis, aerobics, and horseback riding. Depending on the physical requirements of your job, your healthcare provider may recommend taking two or more days off of work following the procedure. If you experience symptoms such as severe pain, persistent bleeding, or difficulty urinating following a kidney biopsy, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider.

Schedule an Appointment with a Nephrologist in the Milwaukee, WI area

At Midwest Nephrology, we are committed to providing individualized care and guidance to our patients, providing the best possible care for each kidney condition. Being one of the longest-operating and largest nephrology groups in Wisconsin, you can easily find a Midwest Nephrology location with a team of providers ready to assist you in diagnosing and treating your kidney concerns. Contact Midwest Nephrology Associates for more information about kidney biopsies and to schedule a consultation.

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