Kidney disease gets worse over time, but with appropriate diagnosis and comprehensive care, it can be treated successfully, especially if it is detected in the early stages.
Kidney Disease Diagnostics
Several tests can be used to measure kidney function and diagnose kidney disease. Some of these tests include:
- Blood tests
- Serum creatinine (also called blood creatinine)
- Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) (also called Urea nitrogen, serum BUN)
- Imaging tests
- Kidney ultrasound
- CT scan of the kidney
- Urine tests
- Urinalysis (also called microscopic urinalysis)
- Urine protein
- Urine albumin (also called 24-hour urine test for albumin, microalbuminuria test)
- Creatinine clearance
- Kidney biopsy (also called renal biopsy, needle aspiration of the kidney, percutaneous kidney biopsy)
Kidney Disease Treatment Clinics
Our specialists have expertise in treating all types of kidney disease, as well as its complications and related diseases, such as anemia and high blood pressure. The care team takes a multidisciplinary approach, involving physician specialists in cardiology, transplant and other disciplines as needed. In some cases, we even offer specialty clinics focused on specific conditions.
Treatment approaches include:
- Kidney Stone Clinic (focusing on stone prevention and non-surgical elimination)
- Kidney Dialysis
- Anemia and Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Clinic
- Glomerulonephritis Clinic
- Pre-ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease) Clinic
We have extensive experience treating patients with high blood pressure that is a symptom of or is causing kidney disease. High blood pressure can damage blood vessels throughout the body, including in the kidneys. This damage can cause a reduction in kidney function, which can in turn increase blood pressure. More than 50 percent of patients with CKD have high blood pressure (hypertension).
High blood pressure is a serious condition, and for people with kidney disease, controlling it is critical. Hypertension is often called the “silent killer” because it frequently has no symptoms. High blood pressure can make chronic kidney disease worse and can lead to heart disease. Regular monitoring of blood pressure is the best way to detect a problem and to make sure elevated blood pressure is kept under control.
Treating high blood pressure usually involves a combination of exercise, nutrition and medications. There is no "one size fits all" approach to treating hypertension. Ideally, treatment should be tailored to the patient to avoid using a large number of or high doses of medications that are less effective. Care will need to be adjusted if your kidney disease progresses and the body’s kidney function changes, especially if you need dialysis or a transplant. Patients with diabetes will require different treatment considerations, too. The goal for all patients is to closely manage blood pressure to reduce the risk of serious complications.
Care for Kidney Transplant Patients and Donors
In collaboration with our nationally recognized Kidney Transplant Program, the Nephrology Program provides skilled evaluation of potential kidney donors and recipients before transplant, which improves outcomes. Together with our transplant surgeons and other specialists, our nephrologists provide lifelong, comprehensive care for kidney transplant patients and for live donors through our Kidney Transplant and Kidney Donor clinics.
The surgical removal of a kidney is called a nephrectomy. Nephrectomies may be done to treat kidney cancer or other types of kidney disease, including birth defects, kidney stones or traumatic injury. Nephrectomies are also performed to remove a healthy kidney from a living donor for transplant into a patient with kidney disease. There are different types of kidney surgery and each can be performed as a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure or as an open surgical procedure.
- Radical nephrectomy removes the entire kidney, usually to treat cancer, correct severe damage or injury, or to procure a live organ for donation.
- Partial nephrectomy, which may also be used to treat kidney cancer, removes only the diseased or injured portion of the kidney. In some cases, a partial nephrectomy may be performed as a minimally invasive robotic procedure.