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Raleigh Associated Medical Specialists

Internal Medicine located in Raleigh, NC

You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your kidneys — the two organs in your lower back that are responsible for cleaning and purifying your blood. However, it’s important to take kidney health into consideration for your overall well-being. Charles Cook, MD, MPH is an experienced nephrologist who practices at Raleigh Associated Medical Specialists in Raleigh, North Carolina. He diagnoses and treats kidney problems ranging from kidney stones to kidney failure, improving your health so you can continue to lead an active and healthy life. Call our office to meet with the providers at RAMS.

Nephrology Q & A

What is nephrology?

Nephrology is the medical specialty that is responsible for diagnosing and treating kidney issues. Your kidneys are fist-sized, bean-shaped organs located just below your rib cage toward the back of your abdomen.

Kidneys clean toxins, waste, and extra water from your blood. These two small organs process approximately 200 quarts of blood every day. The water and waste they extract from your blood becomes urine and travels to your bladder through ureters.

If your kidneys don’t function correctly, your blood isn’t filtered. This can lead to dangerous conditions like high potassium, which inhibits your heart’s ability to perform.

What are common kidney problems?

The most common kidney problem is kidney stones. This condition occurs when calcium deposits build up in your kidney and then travel through your urinary tract, causing significant pain and urinary problems.

Other kidney issues include:

  • Acute or chronic kidney disease and failure
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Electrolyte disorders
  • Inflammation and infection

If you notice symptoms that could indicate a kidney issue, it’s critical to get medical attention quickly.

What are the symptoms of kidney problems?

If you have a kidney issue, you may experience a variety of symptoms, depending on the illness. For example, if you have a kidney stone, you may have problems urinating, cloudy or bloody urine, and severe pain in your lower back.

Other kidney issues cause symptoms such as:

  • Edema
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Muscle cramps
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hypertension

It’s also possible that you might not have any symptoms at all during the early stages of kidney disease.

How are kidney diseases diagnosed?

If you show signs of a kidney disease, Dr. Cook provides a comprehensive exam to diagnose the condition causing your symptoms. In addition to your exam, he orders urine and blood tests to analyze your kidney function.

Your urine is checked for a protein called albumin. If you have a high volume of proteins in your urine, it could be a sign your kidneys aren’t filtering your blood efficiently.

The blood test checks for creatinine, a waste product that comes from your muscle tissue.

How are kidney problems treated?

Treatment for a kidney issue depends on the condition. Dr. Cook offers customized medical treatment including lifestyle modifications, medicines, and other therapies to restore your health.

Call or schedule an appointment online today for expert nephrology care in Raleigh, North Carolina.