Nephrology

Nephrology is an internal medicine subspecialty dealing with the functions and diseases of the kidneys. Your kidneys perform the critical functions of removing waste from the body, filtering toxins from the blood, and regulating blood pressure and important nutrients, including potassium and calcium. When kidneys stop functioning due to disease, patients face an urgent, life-threatening condition.

As of 2014, kidney disease was the ninth deadliest disease in North Carolina, up from eleventh in 2008. The increase in this chronic disease is due to the rampant growth of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

The symptoms of chronic kidney disease vary greatly. Several symptoms that may suggest signs of the disease include:

  • change in energy level or strength
  • leg swelling and puffiness around the eyes due to fluid retention
  • high blood pressure
  • nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite
  • itching, bruising easily, and paleness
  • shortness of breath from fluid accumulation in the lungs
  • headaches or lightheadedness
  • severe bone pain

Onslow’s physicians, nurses and staff specializing in nephrology work with primary care physicians to educate patients, slow the progression of the disease, and treat complications of the disease, as well as the underlying causes and contributing conditions. Controlling diabetes, high blood pressure and diet are key strategies for slowing the progression of kidney disease.