Our doctors see patients with a variety of conditions, from kidney stones to urinary tract infections, difficult-to-control high blood pressure, electrolyte disorders, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease and dialysis, and kidney and pancreas transplant candidates or recipients.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when the kidneys stop working as well as they should. When they are working normally, the kidneys filter the blood and remove waste and excess salt and water
In people with CKD, the kidneys slowly lose the ability to filter the blood. In time, the kidneys can stop working completely. That is why it is so important to keep CKD from getting worse.
As we age, kidney function normally becomes reduced, but it is very rare for persons, even with moderately advanced kidney disease, to require renal replacement therapy.
At first, CKD causes no symptoms. As the disease gets worse, it can:
●Make your feet, ankles, or legs swell (doctors call this “edema”)
●Give you high blood pressure
●Make you very tired
●Damage your bones
Yes, you can protect your kidneys by:
●Taking blood pressure and other medicines every day, if your doctor or nurse prescribes them to you
●Keeping your blood sugar in a healthy range, if you have diabetes
●Changing your diet, if your doctor or nurse says you should
●Quitting smoking, if you smoke
●Losing weight, if you are overweight
●Avoiding medicines known as “nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs,” or NSAIDs. These medicines include ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (sample brand name: Aleve). Check with your doctor, nurse, or kidney specialist before starting any new medicines – even over-the-counter ones.
If your kidneys stop working completely, you can choose between 3 different treatments to take over the job of your kidneys. Your choices are:
●You can have kidney transplant surgery. That way, the new kidney can do the job of your own kidneys. If you have a kidney transplant, you will need to take medicines for the rest of your life to keep your body from reacting badly to the new kidney. (You only need 1 kidney to live.)
●You can have your blood filtered by a machine. This treatment is called “hemodialysis,” but many people call it just “dialysis.” If you choose this approach, you will need to be hooked up to the machine at least 3 times a week for a few hours for the rest of your life. Before you start, you will also need to have surgery to prepare a blood vessel for attachment to the machine.
●You can use a special fluid that you pipe in and out of your belly every day. This treatment is called “peritoneal dialysis.” If you choose this type of dialysis, you will need surgery to have a tube implanted in your belly. Then you will have to learn how to pipe the fluid in and out through that tube.
Hemodialysis is a treatment for kidney failure. Normally, the kidneys work to filter the blood and remove waste and excess salt and water. Kidney failure, also called “end-stage kidney disease,” is when the kidneys stop working completely.
With hemodialysis, a machine takes over the job of the kidneys. Blood is pumped from the body, filtered through a dialysis machine, and then returned to the body .
Most people can choose between having hemodialysis at a dialysis center or at home.
There are downsides and benefits to both options:
●If you have dialysis at a center, you will need to travel there and back. But doctors and nurses at the center can watch you closely during your dialysis.
●If you have dialysis at home, you or someone else will need to learn how to do it. You will also need special equipment and supplies. But people who do home dialysis often feel better and feel more independent and in control of their life. Also, some studies show that people who do home dialysis end up being healthier than those who get dialysis in a center.
Gulf Coast Nephrology offers the opportunity to do hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis at home. Our home dialysis nurses are available in our clinic to provide information and training. If you or someone you know is on dialysis and want to explore the home treatment options, please ask to speak with one of our staff members.
Visit the National Kidney Foundation website for more information on Home Hemodialysis (https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/homehemo) and Peritoneal Dialysis (https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/peritoneal).
Gulf Coast Nephrology partners with hospitals in the Houston area to provide top-quality and patient-centered dialysis care. We integrate ongoing training, education, and collaboration with physicians and nursing teams to ensure the highest quality of care.
We provide the following therapies:
Education and support are critical for our patients and nurses that we support. We offer classes and training for the therapies that we provide