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Off to see the wizard (Nephrologist)

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3362
Joined: Jan 2010

Well I did as my wife instucted and I had my first appointment with a nephrologist. I am on medicare so I did not have to have a referral and both my GP and Urologist said that while they did not think I needed to see a nephrologist they would not stop me from doing so. While my remaining Kidney is functioning ok under the circumstances after 8 and 1/2 years he (the nephrologist) is most concerned about my high blood pressure over the years which is treated by medication and gout which recently flared up. He is more concerned that if the kidney does not stay functioning well that it will much more likely lead to heart rather than kidney problems. He was not concerned with the kidney cancer returning as 8 and 1/2 years have passed. So far I think it was a positive move. I do not want to get into blood tests or medications as what might be appropriate or diagnosed for me may not be for others. Has anyone gone this route(seeing a nephrologist) and if so has it been helpful.

blackbelt's picture
Posts: 32
Joined: Apr 2006

Icemantoo your doctor is right to be concerned about your heart, what you're remaining kidney cannot filter out goes right to your heart. Taking medication for lowering your blood pressure is just a Band-Aid, you need to focus 100% on the reason why you still have high blood pressure even after taking medication to lower your blood pressure, you already know the answer you must seriously change your lifestyle. Weight reduction, diet and exercise is the only way you're going to lower your blood pressure, raise your kidney function & get rid of your gout.

Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid in the body. Uric acid results from the breakdown of purines. Purines are part of all human tissue and found in many foods. The excess can be caused by either an over-production of uric acid by the body or the under-elimination of uric acid by the kidneys. Also, the ingestion of foods high in purines can raise uric acid levels in the blood and precipitate gout attacks in some people.

According to the American Medical Association, a balanced diet for people with gout include foods:
High in complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, vegetables)
Low in protein (15% of calories and sources should be soy, lean meats, poultry)
No more than 30% of calories from fat (10% animal fat)

Suggest starting with http://www.livestrong.com, LIVESTRONG.COM will help you with information about diet and nutrition, you'll be able to track your caloric intake and calories burned with their free online food diary.

Yes Icemantoo if you're really serious about making serious lifestyle changes believe me you'll be able to get off your blood pressure medications, get rid of your gout and raise your kidney function levels. It's very simple no matter if you have cancer symptoms or not your blood must go through the kidneys, might as well take the stress off the kidneys & heart with proper diet and exercise. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.

Jamie1.3cm's picture
Posts: 188
Joined: Jan 2011

You answered a question I had about the difference between a urologist and a nephrologist. I was wondering why nephrologists didn't handle kidney cancers, but your post implies they handle kidney function, perhaps especially after kidney loss.

ejneary's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: Mar 2010

I went to see a nephrologist post nephrectomy... He mostly gave me suggestions of how to live my life with only one kidney. It goes something like this...

The number one killer of kidneys is high blood pressure. You must do everything in your power to reduce your BP and keep it there. The best way is to exercise and lower your salt intake. This has been a bear for me because I LOVE SALT!

Actually though, it is like withdrawal and reducing salt does have a tendency for you to feel like there is WAY too much salt in food when you do go out to eat a regular meal.

The other thing you have to do is reduce the amount of work that your remaining kidney has to do to make sure that you are not overloading it. Though it will hypertrophy and take over the load, you don't want to overload it. The suggestions that my Nephrologist had was to reduce protein intake and sodium intake to the following guidelines:

Protein: 1G per KG body weight per day
Sodium: 2-3G per day

This is really HARD at first but gets easier with time.

Most of all, exercise, drink enough water and reduce junk in your system is the best thing you can do. Lose weight and monitor your BP several times a week.

SO, yes this was helpful. It has given me guidelines to keeping my remaining kidney working and that is my goal.


Jamie1.3cm's picture
Posts: 188
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks, John. That info helps. I'm ok on bp, salt, and protein. I was afraid, though, that you were going to say not to drink too much water b/c that would overwork the one kidney! I like to drink lots of water. I have another condition that leaves me a bit dehydrated, so I'm always drinking.

I'll probably be left with one kidney b/c although my tumor is small, it is sitting on the main vein leading to the kidney, so doc says to be prepared to lose the whole thing. : (

Posts: 67
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi. Mine was sitting right on the renal artery, but they were able to do a partial. I did have robotic surgery. Good luck to you and I wish you the best.

Jamie1.3cm's picture
Posts: 188
Joined: Jan 2011

Interesting. I'm definitely going to ask my doc about this robotic surgery I keep hearing about.

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