Is It Your First Visit To a Kidney Doctor? Here’s What You Can Expect
We understand how stressful doctor visits can be. You have to discuss your intimate health details and come to terms with health issues you've ignored for a long time. However, visiting a nephrologist is essential to address kidney health issues and get the right treatment—in time.
To help you prepare for a nephrologist visit, we've detailed what you can expect on your first visit to the nephrologist and how to prepare for it.
Who are nephrologists, and what do they do?
Nephrologists, also known as kidney doctors, are internal medicine specialists dealing with kidney issues. They evaluate, diagnose and treat all kinds of kidney diseases, like:
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Other kidney dysfunctions and disorders
If you have signs indicating kidney disease or you’re diagnosed with complex kidney issues, your primary care doctor will refer you to a nephrologist.
What happens at the first appointment with a nephrologist?
On your first visit, a nephrologist thoroughly investigates your kidney issues. Here’s what you can expect:
Initial symptom evaluation
They will ask questions and evaluate your current symptoms, like blood in urine, fatigue, swelling, urination changes, trouble breathing, etc., to understand your kidney function.
Understand your medical history
They will review your and your family’s medical history and ask questions about your previous or existing medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, blood vessel disease, etc. So, have all this information in hand—including the results of any tests you’ve taken previously.
Then, they will perform physical exams, which include:
Checking your height and weight
Checking your vital signs—blood pressure, pulse, temperature, etc.
Listening to your lungs, heart, and bowel sounds
Observe if you have swelling in your legs or other parts of the body
Palpating your abdomen and kidneys
Urine and blood collection
First visits with a nephrologist often involve the collection of blood and urine samples to analyze your kidney functioning. Based on your symptoms and condition, a nephrologist may prescribe tests like:
Blood tests: Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), Serum Creatinine, Blood Urea Nitrogen, etc.
Urine tests: Urinalysis, Albumin/Creatinine ratio, etc.
Medical procedures: Ultrasound of the kidneys, CT scan, or even kidney biopsy for accurate diagnosis.
We recommend drinking at least 30 ounces of water an hour before the consultation. It will keep your bladder full and also calm your nerves.
Address your questions
Consultations are meant to be a two-way street. If you’re not satisfied with the diagnosis or have any confusion, it is the right time to ask your questions. You can ask the nephrologist questions like:
What is the current condition of your kidneys?
What are your treatment options, and will they have any side effects?
Is there any diet or lifestyle change you need to make?
Do prescribed medications interfere with your current medication?
Are there any drug interactions you need to be aware of?
Will it impact your personal or work routine?
What does the typical treatment duration look like? And what is the success rate of these treatments?
What does the worst-case scenario look like, and how to avoid it?
Ask for referrals
The nephrologist will refer you to diagnostic centers or specialties for prescribed tests or other required medical procedures. If not, you can ask them for the same.
Create a personalized treatment plan
The nephrologist will create a personalized treatment plan based on your current symptoms, disease severity, and test results. They may prescribe:
Consult a nephrologist today
Visiting a nephrologist as early as possible is essential as you can slow down or even prevent the progression of kidney disease with adequate treatment and lifestyle changes.
Contact our nephrologists today if you're looking for a kidney doctor to help you manage your kidney condition.