What is nephrology?
Nephrology is kidney medicine and is a subspecialty of internal medicine. It is concerned with the diagnoses, treatment and management of kidney functions and renal (kidney) replacement therapy, such as dialysis and kidney transplantation.
Nephrologists treat systemic conditions affecting kidneys, such as diabetes and autoimmune disease, as well as hypertension (high blood pressure) and electrolyte disturbances.
Where are the kidneys located?
The human body has two kidneys, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage in the middle of your back, on either side of the spine.
What are the functions of the kidneys?
The kidneys’ critical functions are to cleanse blood, maintain a stable balance of salt and minerals, and help regulate blood pressure. This is done through the filtering and removal of waste products and excess fluid through the urine.
Specifically, the kidneys do the following:
- Remove waste products and drugs from the body
- Regulate the body’s salt, potassium and acid content
- Release hormones that regulate blood pressure
- Produce hormones that promote strong, healthy bones
- Control the production of red blood cells