Nephrology is the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the kidneys.
Doctors who specialize in kidney treatment are called nephrologists. Other health professionals who treat kidney problems include primary care doctors, transplant specialists and urologists.
The study of nephrology includes healthy kidneys as well as kidney issues, which may include kidney failure, kidney stones and kidney cancer.
These problems with the kidneys may be caused by the following:
- Aging -- as we age, changes in the structure of the kidneys can cause them to lose some ability to remove wastes from the blood, and the muscles in the ureters, bladder, and urethra tend to lose some of their strength; however, this alone does not cause chronic kidney diseases
- Illness or injury-- damage to the kidneys caused by illness or an injury can also prevent them from filtering the blood completely or block the passage of urine
- Toxicity -- the kidneys may be damaged by substances, such as certain medications, a buildup of some substances in the body, or toxic substances such as poisons