Nephrology: understanding all aspects

Sameer Gupta, MD
Kidneys and nephrology

In short, a nephrologist is a physician who specializes in treating health concerns that arise from sub-optimal kidney function. However, I strongly feel this explanation oversimplifies the facts and one can truly understand the role of a nephrologist if he/she acknowledges the role that kidneys play in our daily lives.

Nephrology (from Greek νεφρός nephros "kidney," combined with the suffix -logy, “the study of”) is a specialty of medicine and pediatrics that concerns itself with the study of normal kidney function, kidney problems and the treatment of kidney concerns.

Normally, we all have two kidneys, and they are considered vitals organs just like our brain, heart and lungs. In fact, kidneys are the reason that human beings were able to evolve from fish and survive on land. They have two main functions in our body:

1. To get rid of acid (commonly known as waste products that arise from bodily functions).

2. To conserve just the right amount of water in the body.

Kidneys are incredibly complex organs and the finesse with which they adapt and cater to our day-to-day demands/needs is not only mind-boggling but just marvelous. It is this incredible complexity that always posed an intellectual challenge in my training years, and I decided to get formal training to understand it in a better way.

I feel fortunate enough that not only has my training helped me understand these critical concepts in our bodily functions, but it has also given me ample tools that I am able to break it down and explain it to my patients in a language, which is easily understandable.

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