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What is a pediatric nephrologist?

Nephrologists are doctors who treat people with kidney disorders, complicated chemical imbalances, bone metabolism disorders, and high blood pressure. A pediatric nephrologist treats those conditions and others that specifically affect children’s kidneys as they grow.

Our kidneys help filter toxins out of the bloodstream and then remove them from the body through urination. They also make chemicals that control bone growth, regulate the amount of fluid in the body, and balance the levels of other chemicals like sodium and potassium that are necessary for human function.

Dialysis, a blood filtering system that temporarily provides the function of an ailing kidney, helps pediatric patients who need this level of support for a defined period of time. For some children with end-stage kidney disease, kidney transplantation may be an option.

What kinds of services do pediatric nephrologists provide?

Our pediatric nephrology team sees children with a variety of problems including kidney disorders, body chemistry disorders, and problems with their urinary tract:

  • Chronic or acute kidney disease—Damage to the kidneys can significantly and permanently impair their function, leading to chronic kidney disease. This can be caused by defects present at birth, infections, urinary tract blockages, and diseases like lupus and diabetes. Your child’s nephrologist may prescribe medicines to help relieve the symptoms caused by chronic kidney disease.
  • High blood pressure—Although it is commonly thought of as a disease that affects adults, high blood pressure, or hypertension, can affect children who have kidney disorders.
  • Urinary tract infections—Urinary tract infections are a common illness for children. However, a child who has many urinary tract infections over time may have a structural problem with the anatomy that carries urine from the kidneys out of the body.
  • Glomerular diseases—The glomerulus is a cluster of tiny blood vessels in the kidney where the filtration of blood occurs. Diseases that damage the glomerulus can result in leakage of blood and/or protein in the urine. If the damage is severe enough, kidney function can decrease.
  • Other structural abnormalities of the kidneys

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