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The branch of medicine dealing primarily with the function and diseases of the kidneys


Nephrology is a branch of medicine that specializes in the study of the function, structure, diseases and treatments of kidneys. The kidneys are a pair of organs in the body that perform the function of osmoregulation, blood filtration, and elimination of wastes in the form of urine. Some of the common problems of the kidneys are acute kidney failures associated with the lack of blood flow to the kidneys, direct damage to the kidneys, and blockage of urine from the kidneys. Another is the chronic kidney disease (CKD) that is commonly caused by types 1 and 2 diabetes and by high blood pressure. Other causes of CKD include immune system conditions (e.g. lupus, AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C), urinary tract infections (pyelonephritis), inflammation of glomeruli, polycystic kidney disease, congenital defecs, and long-term medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.1 Nephrology is also concerned with the diagnosis of these kidney problems and the appropriate medical care and treatments (e.g. renal replacement therapy such as dialysis and renal transplant). A physician that specializes in nephrology is called nephrologist or renal physician.

Word origin: Greek nephros (kidney) + -logy (study of)

See also:

  • kidney
  • nephron

Related term(s):

  • nephrologist

1 Understanding Kidney Disease -- the Basics. Retrieved from [1]