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© 2019 Altitude Kidney Health.  All Rights Reserved

Designed by Zach McNamara Creative and Peter Brookens

Patient Education

nephrology = the study of kidneys

Kidney Disease

We evaluate kidney disease from all causes and of all types:

  • diabetes 

  • hypertension

  • glomerulonephritis and autoimmune disease of the kidney

  • kidney stones

  • polycystic kidney disease

  • sepsis and shock

  • infections: kidney infections and urinary tract infections (UTI)

  • rare inherited and acquired kidney diseases
  • and more


What does kidney disease feel like?

Signs and symptoms of kidney disease

The kidneys are mixed up in a lot of the body's functions. Frequently, patients feel no detectable symptoms they can trace to their kidneys.


When kidney function declines enough, patients may start to feel symptoms or show signs of disease.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE ("hypertension", or "HTN")

Not only can HTN cause your kidney disease, it is a consequence of it. Declining kidney function impairs the body's ability to regulate your blood pressure, "BP," and while most patients develop higher blood pressure, some develop fluctuating and difficult to control blood pressure. We specialize in managing abnormal blood pressure.


This is a condition of low red blood cell count. The kidneys help your body make blood cells, and patients with moderate to advanced CKD frequently develop this. This can show up on a blood test and symptomatically as early fatigue, shortness of breath, and pale skin. We help patients treat this associated condition.


My professor used to ask unwitting students, "How much sodium does a person's kidneys pee out each day?" The answer should be that sodium consumption roughly sodium equals output in urine in a healthy person. However, there exists an important exception to this, especially in kidney disease! Patients with swelling in their bodies retain extra sodium and water in their bodies, meaning that they are urinating out less than they take in. Helping our patients to control this is something we delight in, and we at AKH make a priority of tailoring our solutions to each patient. 


The kidneys help your body to balance minerals. Some of these, like calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium, are a major part of your skeletal health. With declining kidney function, these can get out of balance and lead to weakened bones and a higher risk of fracture. A kidney specialist helps patients to restore mineral balance for healthy bones, particularly in CKD.



Healthy kidneys help to determine the right balance of electrolytes in your body from sodium ("salt") to potassium to other vitamins, something that is harder to achieve with CKD. What's more, when kidney disease advances, natural waste products from your body that you used to pee out build up to high levels and can make you feel ill. Many patients experience nausea, loss of appetite, itchiness, and other symptoms with kidney disease that further worsens your nutritional status! We help our patients to manage these symptoms through both conservative and aggressive measures including dialysis and transplantation.


The kidneys determine how much water your body hangs onto, as well! Kidney specialists think about "sodium" levels in your blood as a reflection of how much water is in your body. There are important conditions we treat that refer to TOO MUCH water, or "hyponatremia," or TOO LITTLE water in the body, a state of "hypernatremia."


Ask us about in-person and live video classes available. AKH and other area organizations offer a series of classes to keep you informed.

Andrew lecturing about his favorite topic: the evaluation of hyponatremia, an imbalance of water & salt

Additional resources


A service of the National Kidney Foundation

Tens of millions of people develop kidney disease. Kidney disease can be sudden and, sooner or later, recover. It can also be chronic -- "CKD," or chronic kidney disease -- and progressive. Only 3% of people with CKD develop kidney failure - a state that may require dialysis, transplant, or other advanced care planning.


Courtesy of the National Kidney Foundation:

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