Care and Treatment for Kidney Disease
Why Choose Treatment for Kidney Disease at University of Colorado Hospital?
University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) consistently provides the right balance of patient care, research and education to meet the needs of its patients.
U.S.News & World Report has named UCH as one of the best hospitals in the nation for the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease.
UCH features an outpatient unit for patients who need regular dialysis to treat kidney failure. The unit allows patients to move from inpatient to outpatient care without leaving the hospital campus.
What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease decreases the body’s ability to process and eliminate waste through the production of urine. The kidneys also play an important role in:
- Maintaining a balance of fluids in the body
- Controlling the production of red blood cells
- Releasing a hormone that helps to control blood pressure
- Manufacturing vitamin D, which helps to build strong bones
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) occurs when a “marker,” such as protein, appears in the urine. It also occurs when a person has had reduced kidney function for at least three months.
The most common cause of CKD is diabetes (elevated blood sugar levels). About 20 million people in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease.
Tests & Treatments
Tests for Kidney Disease
Blood tests are required to detect kidney disease. These tests show build-ups of substances in the blood. This is a sign that your kidneys are not working as well as they should.
Tests for kidney disease include:
- Fasting blood glucose to measure the levels of sugar in the blood
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test to measure levels of urea, a waste product
- Creatinine clearance test to measure levels of creatinine, another waste product
- Urinalysis to detect protein in the urine
- Tests for elevated levels of electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium
- Ultrasound to get pictures of the kidneys
Your doctor may also order a biopsy of your kidney. This requires getting a piece of kidney tissue. Examining the tissue can help doctors to identify the cause of the disease.
Treatments for Kidney Disease
Your doctor may treat your kidney disease by controlling your diabetes and high blood pressure with medication, diet and exercise.
If your kidney disease becomes severe, you may have to use dialysis to eliminate the waste materials in your blood.
Dialysis cleanses the blood and return it to the body using a machine. You will have to receive dialysis treatment on a regular basis. If you have a severely damaged kidney, you will need an organ transplant from another body.
Your Medical Team
The kidney disease team at University of Colorado Hospital focuses on providing quality care to its patients. In addition, the team helps educate patients so that they can manage their own kidney disease care.
Kidney Disease Specialists
- Nephrologist – a doctor who specializes in the functions of the kidneys.
Other Kidney Disease Staff
- Clinical nurse specialist – an advanced practice nurse whose care focuses on a specific patient population.
- Registered nurse – a nurse licensed by the state who conducts medical evaluations, takes patient histories and provides after care for patients with kidney disease.
- Dietitian – a specialist in the effects of nutrition and food preparation on the body.
Living with Kidney Disease
You can help protect your kidneys by treating your diabetes, if you have it, and controlling your blood pressure. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, making it harder for them to clean your blood. High blood pressure (hypertension) increases stress on the walls of your arteries. This pressure can also damage the kidneys.
You can also improve kidney function by:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Not smoking
- Avoiding excessive use of some medications (ibuprofen and some antibiotics)
- Controlling alcohol consumption
Getting a Second Opinion About Kidney Disease
Your doctors at University of Colorado Hospital can provide a second opinion if you have questions about the function of your kidneys.
Additional Kidney Disease Resources
National Kidney Foundation
IgA Nephropathy Support Network