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What To Expect When Visiting a Nephrologist For The First Time

A nephrologist, or kidney doctor, is a health professional whose focus is to assess, diagnose, and treat kidney-related problems. You may be referred to a nephrologist by your primary care physician if they detect that you have more than one major sign of kidney disorder.

Having a kidney issue may seem distressing, but with a nephrologist, you can receive the help and treatment you need to tackle your kidney problems. Let’s take a look at what you can expect from your initial visit with one of our providers at the Kidney Clinic of North Florida.

Getting Ready For Your First Visit With A Nephrologist

During the initial appointment, your nephrologist will collect data about your overall well-being and the state of your kidneys. It is prudent to have various information prepared before your appointment, including the following:

List Of Common Signs And Symptoms

Your physician will ask you about the signs and symptoms you’re experiencing. Feel free to write down a list beforehand so you don’t forget anything you want to discuss. Some of the signs and symptoms related to kidney problems include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Alterations in urination patterns
  • Pain when urinating
  • Swelling around your eyes, legs, or feet
  • Blood in the urine
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Variations in urine

You’ll also want to be on the lookout for the following symptoms of chronic renal disease that may not initially appear to be related to the kidney:

  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Muscle twitches or cramps

Medical History And Records

Your medical history and records are also important to bring to your initial appointment. You can either fill out a form with us or have your records sent over from your primary care physician. With this information, we can identify potential risk factors associated with renal disease.

Your susceptibility to kidney disease may increase if there is a family history of kidney problems, especially from immediate family members such as parents, siblings, and grandparents.

Having pre-existing conditions such as heart problems, hypertension, diabetes, or obesity can also elevate your risk of having kidney disease. Additionally, factors like cholesterol medications, some over-the-counter pain medications, and proton pump inhibitors may also lead to renal problems.

Assessing Your Kidney Well-Being

Your kidney specialist will perform a physical examination to take a look at both your overall health and renal well-being. They will also examine your heart and lung function and check to see if you have any swelling in the face.

Your nephrologist may also recommend certain tests or scans to determine how well your kidneys are functioning.

Schedule A Consultation Today

Kidney issues frequently receive little attention or go undetected, but the earlier any issues are identified, the more effective it is to treat them. Dr. Tandon and Dr. Puri are both highly skilled nephrologists and are here to provide professional support throughout your journey from your first appointment to diagnosis to treatment.

Schedule a consultation today at the Kidney Clinic of North Florida by calling our Jacksonville, FL office at +1 904-593-5333 or using our online contact form. We look forward to assisting you in managing your kidney health.

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Importance of Getting a Second Opinion

Kidney disease is a very serious medical condition that requires treatment. For those experiencing kidney disease symptoms, finding out what kidney disease treatment is right for your kidney disease symptoms is the next step in your health journey. A second-opinion doctor can provide you with additional insight and treatment options for your kidney disease. Learn about the importance of getting a second opinion on your kidney disease. 

What is a Second Opinion? 

A kidney disease second opinion is a second review of your medical records by a kidney specialist who is not part of your normal medical care team. A medical second opinion can offer additional insight, ensuring that you are on the right path to treatment. A second opinion can also provide you with additional knowledge about your body and options. 

Second opinions can vary. Some medical professionals may focus on your medical records while others can provide a second look at tissue samples or CS images. Having your medical specialist extensively review your medical record is important for them to form a well-rounded opinion on your health condition. This can help you gain as much knowledge as possible about your health. 

When to Consider a Second Opinion 

While Determining Your Issue 

Considering a second opinion is important in cases where you may be considering what kidney issue you are struggling with. Having a kidney disease second opinion can help you pinpoint kidney disease symptoms that another doctor may not have screened you for. If you are seeing a doctor who does not have a lot of experience treating kidneys, visiting a clinic that specializes in kidneys can help you achieve a more reliable diagnosis. 

During Treatment 

If you are being treated for your kidney disease symptoms and are not getting any better, it is crucial to consult with a second-opinion doctor. A second-opinion doctor may notice information in your medical chart that a previous doctor did not. A kidney disease second-opinion doctor may also run additional tests on your condition to help you gain more insight into your best treatment options. 

Before Major Decisions

If you are unsure about a major decision including surgery or drug treatment, receiving a medical second opinion can reassure you during the process and can even give you additional treatment options. Also, if the treatment that you are deciding on has significant and long-lasting risks it is important to receive a kidney disease second opinion from another doctor. This can help you achieve more knowledge and insight on whether that treatment is right for your healthcare needs. 

Schedule Your Consultation 

While many factors can affect your kidney health, there are a variety of treatment plans for individuals with kidney disease. At the Kidney Clinic of North Florida, we are here to answer your questions, help you maintain optimal kidney health, and give you the second opinion that you need. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Gaurav Tandon, MD, or Dr. Vishesh Puri, MD at the Kidney Clinic of North Florida by completing the online contact form.

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Your Plan for Eating Kidney-Friendly

Eating a kidney-friendly diet is essential for supporting healthy kidney function. Although many options exist for a balanced kidney-friendly diet, understanding how to get started can sometimes be overwhelming. These are a few ways you can get started on a diet that benefits your overall health and keeps the kidneys functioning properly.

1. Cut Back on Salt

Salt (sodium) is a mineral found in almost all foods and some sodium is needed to help your body function properly. However, too much salt can increase fluid retention, blood pressure, and kidney stress. It’s best to avoid adding extra salt when cooking and serving food. Choosing fresh food instead of canned or packaged options is the best way to avoid too much sodium in your diet.

Additionally, prepare more meals at home, so you can control what type of ingredients you consume. If eating out, ask for dishes with no added salt and choose healthier seasonings like herbs or spices to add flavor.

2. Balance Potassium

Potassium is high in many foods, such as avocados, beans, oranges, and bananas – usually staples of a healthy diet. Like sodium, a certain amount of potassium is needed for your body to function and it has an important role in muscle building and repair. Too much or too little potassium is a common sign of kidney disease. Imbalanced potassium levels can also cause muscle cramping, irregularities in your heartbeat, and muscle weakness.

3. Limit Phosphorus

Another tip for creating a kidney-friendly eating plan is limiting phosphorus intake. Found in whole-grain bread, bran cereals, nuts, and dark colas, phosphorus should be eaten in moderation when dealing with renal issues. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, phosphorus can build up in your blood and weaken the bones. Alternative food sources that are low in phosphorous are Italian or sourdough bread, corn cereals, and light-colored soda or lemonade.

4. Limit Fluid Intake

Damaged kidneys cannot flush extra water and fluids from the body as well as they should. Excess fluid in the body can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), heart failure, and swelling in the limbs. Not only should you limit drinks, but also watery foods like soup, ice cream, gelatin, fruits, and vegetables. Limiting your sodium intake, chewing gum, and rinsing your mouth with water and then spitting it out can help you feel less thirsty.

5. Limit Portion Sizes

It takes your stomach about 20 minutes to signal to the brain that you are full. To avoid overeating, eat slowly and stop eating when you start feeling full. Check the serving sizes on nutrition levels and consult with your doctor or a dietitian about serving sizes for foods without labels like fruits and vegetables. You can also try to avoid eating or set aside a portion while doing something else like watching TV. It’s easy to eat too much when you are distracted and not paying attention to how much you are consuming.

Contact Us Today

Following these tips, you can create an individualized plan for your kidney-friendly diet that works best with your lifestyle and health needs. Eating a balanced diet is essential to living a healthy life and supporting the kidneys! With a little creativity and planning, anyone can create delicious meals that are both nutritious and kidney-friendly.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Gaurav Tandon at Kidney Clinic of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL, for more individualized help with creating a kidney-friendly diet plan. Dr. Tandon is an expert in developing, managing, and treating all kidney-related diseases and he will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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When Should I Consider Seeing a Nephrologist (Kidney Doctor)?

Poor kidney function can come with a variety of problems, so it’s essential to see a kidney specialist as soon as you notice problems. However, it can be difficult to know when you should see a kidney doctor and what constitutes an emergency. Here are some of the top reasons to see Dr. Gaurav Tandon at the Kidney Clinic of North Florida.

1. Changes in Your Pee

Several factors can affect the color and amount of urine that you produce, including dehydration, medications, food or beverages consumed, or underlying conditions. However, it’s important to know the normal pattern of your urine color or amount. If you notice abrupt changes in your urinary patterns, make sure to see a kidney specialist right away.

2. Metabolic Changes

The kidneys play an important role in nutrient distribution and waste removal. When kidney function declines, waste products cannot be cleared from the blood as well as they should. Over time, extra fluid accumulates in the body. Eventually, it can cause symptoms like fatigue or shortness of breath. If you notice a change in your energy levels or day-to-day functioning, it can be a sign of kidney problems.

3. Anemia

The body doesn’t properly absorb red blood cells when kidney function declines, and this can lead to anemia. Symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness which are more often attributed to other conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. However, it can also be attributed to poor kidney function.

4. High Blood Pressure

When kidney function is poor, the body becomes dehydrated, and a hormone called renin is released from the kidneys. Renin stimulates the production of angiotensin by the lungs. Angiotensin, in turn, causes blood vessels to constrict (narrow), increasing blood pressure. If your blood pressure becomes high seemingly without cause, it may be related to your kidneys.

5. High Protein Levels in Urine

Excess protein may be excreted into the urine when the kidneys stop filtering the blood effectively. This occurrence is called proteinuria. Typically, this causes symptoms like fatigue, swelling, upset stomach, or loss of appetite.

Schedule an Appointment

Keep your doctor in the loop. Whether you are on dialysis, on medications, or have other concerns, having a kidney doctor you trust is an important part of successful care. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Gaurav Tandon at Kidney Clinic of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL, to learn more.