How Are Kidney Disease and CKD Related to Other Chronic Diseases?

Kidney disease and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are conditions that cause a gradual loss of kidney function over time. Your kidneys have many important functions, but are primarily responsible for filtering waste products, excess water and other impurities of the blood. Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from kidney disease and CKD, of which nearly 50 percent have underlying conditions that contributed to their CKD.

Which chronic diseases are related to kidney disease and CKD?

The two main causes of kidney disease and CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure, because they damage blood vessels. When blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, they are unable to work properly. If these conditions are left untreated, they can lead to kidney disease and CKD. There are many chronic diseases that can lead to CKD, including:

  • Lupus nephritis
    Lupus nephritisis inflammation of the kidney, which is caused by systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), commonly known as lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that targets and attacks its own body tissues.
  • Glomerular/vascular disorders
    Glomerular/vascular disorders affect the blood vessels in the kidneys. These disorders may be caused by a direct result of an infection or a drug that is toxic to the kidneys. They may also result from a disease that affects the entire body, like lupus or diabetes.
  • Proteinuria & hematuria
    Proteinuria is a condition in which there is too much protein in your urine, and hematuria occurs when there is blood in your urine. Because they affect the blood vessels in the kidneys, they can cause a range of other health problems, including kidney disease and CKD.
  • Fluid & electrolyte disorders
    While fluid and electrolyte disorders are primarily caused by reduced kidney function, they can also result from insulin deficiency. The kidneys play an important role in the regulation of fluids and electrolytes. When they malfunction, they can cause imbalances that lead to serious health complications, such as kidney disease and CKD.
  • Kidney stones
    Kidney stones and other acute conditions of the kidney can lead to kidney disease, CKD and kidney failure, if they are not treated quickly and effectively.

For expert chronic kidney disease management in San Antonio, call South Texas Renal Care Group at 210-212-8622 to schedule an appointment. Our goal is to slow the progression of kidney disease, and keep you as healthy as possible through leading-edge treatment programs.

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How to Get Rid of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones send more 500,000 people to emergency rooms each year. These small, hard deposits of minerals and acid salts can not only be painful when passing through the urinary tract, but can also stop urine from flowing altogether. This can lead to infections of the urinary tract or kidneys, if they are left untreated.

How to get rid of kidney stones

Treatment for kidney stones may vary, depending on their size. While most small stones do not require invasive treatment, larger stones may require more extensive, medical procedures. Here is additional information about how to get rid of kidney stones:

  • Small kidney stones
    You may be able to pass a small stone by drinking plenty of water, taking pain relievers or muscle relaxers. Here are additional tips for getting rid of small kidney stones:

    • Drink plenty water so your urine runs clear. This will help flush out your urinary system.
    • Take pain relievers (e.g., Aleve, Tylenol, Advil or Motrin IB) to ease mild pain associated with kidney stones.
    • Take prescribed medication from your doctor that will help relax the muscles and pass your kidney stone more easily.
  • Large kidney stones
    When large stones are unable to pass on their own—or cause bleeding—they often lead to more severe conditions like kidney or urinary tract infections. Procedures to remove or break up larger kidney stones may include:

    • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)
      ESWL is an ultrasound therapy that uses sound waves to create shock waves, which help break up larger kidney stones into tiny pieces. This helps make the kidney stones easier to pass through the urine.
    • Surgery
      Small telescopes and instruments may be inserted through a small incision in your back to remove larger kidney stones.
    • Scoping
      A thin lighted tube (ureteroscope) equipped with a camera is passed through your urethra and bladder intro your ureter to capture or break kidney stones into tiny pieces that can be easily passed through the urine. 

If you are struggling with the pain and discomfort of kidney stones, call South Texas Renal Care Group at 210-212-8622 to schedule an appointment. Our kidney doctors provide the best kidney stone treatment in South Texas.

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What Causes Kidney Stones?

As painful as they can be, kidney stones often show no symptoms … that is, until they begin to move around inside your kidney, or pass into your ureter (the tube connecting the kidney and bladder). Kidney stones also have no definite, singular cause, but there are risk factors.

A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume and/or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine. 

Risk factors for kidney stones

One in every 20 people will develop kidney stones at some point in their life. You could be at an increased risk of developing kidney stones if you possess the following factors:

  • Family or personal history of kidney stones
  • Dehydration
  • High-sodium diet
  • Obesity
  • Stomach or bowel diseases

Kidney stone pain and when to see your doctor

The pain associated with a kidney stone can change. It may shift to a different location or increase in intensity as the stone moves through your urinary tract. See your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that concern you. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • Severe pain so intense that you cannot sit still or find a comfortable position
  • Pain with nausea and vomiting
  • Pain accompanied by fever and chills
  • Blood in your urine
  • Difficulty passing urine

Striving daily to be the best kidney doctors in South Texas

At South Texas Renal Care Group, your kidney health is our only focus. We are here to serve the people of San Antonio and South Texas through personalized and exceptional kidney care, kidney disease management in South Texas. We work each day to be the very best nephrologists, in order to deliver optimal treatment outcomes. Let us show you how our comprehensive, compassionate kidney care can provide you the best possible quality of life.

To learn more, or schedule an appointment, call 210-212-8622 or click here to use our online form.

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Kidney Transplant Procedure and Recovery

Many kidney dialysis patients facing kidney failure choose to undergo a kidney transplant rather than live a lifetime on dialysis. Compared to dialysis, a kidney transplant can provide:

  • Improved quality of life
  • Lower risk of death
  • Less dietary restrictions
  • Reduced treatment cost

Should you decide to pursue kidney transplantation, there is much to consider:

  • Determining your candidacy
  • Knowing the risks and costs
  • Selecting a trusted transplant center
  • Preparing for, undergoing and recovering from the procedure itself

The kidney transplant procedure: Finding a match

This phase of kidney transplant is all about compatibility. It involves blood typing, tissue matching and blood cross matching (to determine if your blood antibodies may react against antigens in the donor’s blood). You can receive a kidney donation from a person living or deceased, related or not to you. Living-donor kidney transplantation is possible because only one donated kidney is needed to replace two failed kidneys.

What if a compatible living donor isn’t available? Your name may be placed on a kidney transplant waiting list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor. The waiting period will depend on the degree of matching/compatibility between you and the donor and several other factors. Some people get a match within several months, while others wait several years.

Preparing for your kidney transplant procedure

Whether you’re waiting for a donated kidney or your transplant surgery is already scheduled, strive to stay healthy. Maintaining good habits can help you be ready for the surgery, and may even speed your recovery. Be sure to:

  • Take all medications as prescribed
  • Stick to diet and exercise guidelines
  • Keep all appointments with your health care team
  • Stay as active as possible, including relaxing and spending time with family and friends

Recovering from kidney transplantation

Here are a few things to expect after your surgery:

  • Hospitalization – Your condition will be closely monitored in a hospital for signs of complications as your new kidney starts to produce urine. Expect soreness or pain around the incision site as you heal. You will likely be in the hospital for about one week, but with diligent post-operative care, most people return to work and other normal activities within three to eight weeks after transplant.
  • Follow-up care  Frequent check-ups are vital to the progress of your recovery. You may need blood tests several times a week, or to have your medications adjusted in the weeks after your transplant.
  • A lifelong medications routine Following your surgery, you’ll take anti-rejection medications to help keep your immune system from attacking and rejecting your new kidney. Other drugs can help reduce the risk of other complications like post-op infection.

The leading kidney doctors just so happen to be in South Texas

At South Texas Renal Care Group, we are proud to be the premier provider of pre- and post-operative care for kidney transplant in San Antonio. Our board-certified doctors won’t settle for being anything less than the very best nephrologists. This is how we consistently provide optimal treatment outcomes for your highest possible quality of life.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 210-212-8622 or click here to use our online form.

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What Is Peritoneal Dialysis?

Your kidneys are the keys to keeping your body in balance by eliminating waste, maintaining chemical levels and controlling blood pressure. For people with chronic kidney failure and end-stage renal disease, dialysis treatments, which mimic kidney function, are needed for the rest of their lives.

You may be familiar with hemodialysis, which pumps blood out of the body to an artificial kidney machine, then returns blood to the body via tubes that connect you to the machine. During peritoneal dialysis, the inside lining of your abdomen acts as a natural filter.

More about peritoneal dialysis

Before peritoneal dialysis, a plastic catheter is surgically placed into your abdomen (belly) to create access. During the treatment, your abdominal area (peritoneal cavity) is slowly filled with dialysate through the catheter. The blood stays in the arteries and veins that line your peritoneal cavity. Extra fluid and waste products are drawn out of your blood and into the dialysate. There are two types of peritoneal dialysis:

  • Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis CAPD – The only type of machine-free peritoneal dialysis treatment, CAPD can be done while you go about your normal activities such as work or school. You do the treatment on your own, by hooking a plastic bag of cleansing fluid to the tube in your abdomen.
  • Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD) – During APD, a machine (cycler) delivers and drains the cleansing fluid for you. This is usually done at night while you sleep.

Dedicated to being the best kidney doctors, right here in South Texas

At South Texas Renal Care Group, we are proud to be the leader in providing both inpatient and outpatient dialysis care in San Antonio. We exist to serve the people of San Antonio and South Texas through personalized and exceptional kidney care through the latest technologies. Each day, our team of board-certified doctors strives to be the very best nephrologists to deliver optimal treatment outcomes and an excellent quality of daily living. Come see the difference our brand of advanced, compassionate kidney care can make in your life!

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 210-212-8622 or click here to use our online form.

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What Are the Common Symptoms of Kidney Problems?

Would you know if you have kidney problems leading to chronic kidney disease? Pinpointing kidney problems can be somewhat tricky. Here’s why: The symptoms of slowly-developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) can be caused by other illnesses. And since your kidneys are so adaptable, they can compensate for lost function; masking signs and symptoms until irreversible damage has occurred.

On the other hand, if kidney damage progresses rapidly, kidney problems can come on quickly and result in acute kidney failure. Acute kidney failure can occur in people hospitalized for any reason, and it’s even more common in people receiving intensive care.

Do you have kidney problems? Know the symptoms

Some of the signs and symptoms of CKD may seem mild or nonspecific. But if they persist or begin to interrupt your activities, see your doctor immediately. The symptoms of kidney problems can include:

  • Chronic nausea
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Changes in how much you urinate
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles
  • Persistent itching
  • Chest pain (caused by fluid buildup around the lining of the heart)
  • Shortness of breath (caused by fluid buildup in the lungs)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) that’s difficult to control

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the problems listed above, make an appointment with your doctor—especially if you have a history of CKD or a medical condition that increases your risk of kidney disease. In this case, your doctor will likely monitor your blood pressure and kidney function. He or she may also order urine and blood tests during regular office visits.

Advanced, dedicated kidney care in South Texas

At South Texas Renal Care Group, we are proud to provide expert care for chronic kidney disease in South Texas. Our priority is, quite simply, to make leading-edge kidney care accessible and convenient to the people of San Antonio and neighboring areas. Whether you need treatment for chronic kidney disease, vascular access management, dialysis or a kidney transplant, you’ll find it in a compassionate, supportive setting. Come see the difference our dedicated care can make in managing your kidney condition.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 210-212-8622 or click here to use our online form.

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What Are the Benefits of Hemodialysis?

Hemodialysis is the process of cleaning impurities out of your blood when your kidneys can no longer do it effectively. This process is often used to treat advanced kidney failure, which helps those with failing kidneys to continue to live an active lifestyle.

Differences between hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis

Hemodialysis uses a dialysis machine and a special filter called a hemodialyzer, or artificial kidney, to filter waste and remove extra fluid from the blood. To access your blood, your doctor will need to create a small incision on your arm to create an access point to your blood vessels.

In peritoneal dialysis, the lining of your stomach acts as a natural filter. Your doctor will surgically place a soft plastic tube (catheter) into your stomach. During the treatment, a sterile cleansing fluid goes directly to your stomach through this catheter. After the filtering process is finished, the fluid leaves your body back through the same catheter.

Benefits of hemodialysis

Aside from allowing people to continue living a relatively normal life, hemodialysis has other benefits, such as:

  • Hemodialysis requires less time than peritoneal dialysis
    Hemodialysis treatments may occur at a hospital, dialysis center or your own home three times a week, with each session lasting between three and five hours. This leaves most of the week dialysis-free. By contrast, peritoneal dialysis takes between 10 and 12 hours every day.
  • Hemodialysis carries a relatively low risk of infection
    Hemodialysis uses and arteriovenous (AV) fistula, which is the gold standard vascular access used to access a person’s blood. Common complications of peritoneal dialysis include infections of the abdominal lining or at the site where the catheter is inserted to carry the cleansing fluid.
  • Hemodialysis requires less surgical interventions
    AV fistulas for dialysis last many years, longer than transplanted kidneys and catheters for peritoneal dialysis. This type of dialysis does not typically require additional surgeries.

If you or a loved one is in need of expert dialysis care in South Texas, call South Texas Renal Care Group, voted Best Nephrologists by Scene San Antonio, at 210-212-8622 to schedule an appointment with one of the best kidney doctors in the area.

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How to Avoid Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is caused by chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition affecting 30 million Americans.

CKD signifies lasting damage to the kidneys, which can worsen over time to the point that your kidneys may stop functioning. This is called kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live. Fortunately, you can find effective, compassionate dialysis care in South Texas in multiple locations in San Antonio and neighboring towns.

Although anyone can develop chronic kidney disease, some people are more at risk than others. Some factors that increase your risk for CKD include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Heart disease
  • Having a family member with kidney disease
  • Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian
  • Being 60 years old or more

Can kidney failure be avoided?

Because high blood pressure and diabetes are among the leading causes of CKD, managing these conditions is the key to decreasing your chances of progressive CKD and kidney failure. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, be sure to work closely with your doctor to keep your blood sugar and blood pressure under control. This is the best possible way to prevent kidney disease.

Making healthy lifestyle choices can go a long way to help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease, or help keep them in check. To lower your risk for kidney disease and the problems that cause it:

  • Consume a low-salt, low-fat diet
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise three to four times per week
  • See your doctor for regular checkups
  • Avoid smoking, vaping and using tobacco
  • Limit alcohol

Award-winning kidney care in South Texas

At South Texas Renal Care Group, we are proud to be a recognized leader in treating chronic kidney disease. Our passion for providing people of San Antonio and South Texas exceptional care shines through in our dedication to being the best nephrologists we can be. This hard work has earned us a spot on Texas Monthly’s Super Doctors® list and Vital’s 10 Years of Community Service and Patient’s Choice awards.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 210-212-8622 or click here to use our online form.

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Is Dialysis Safe?

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located on either side of the spine, just below the ribcage. They are responsible for purifying the blood as well as removing any excess waste and fluids from the body. When they stop doing their job well, or at all, your doctor will likely recommend dialysis treatments to keep your body functioning as normally as possible. While dialysis isn’t a cure for kidney disease, it can help increase longevity and improve quality of life.

What is dialysis?

Dialysis is an artificial way to clean your blood. Hemodialysis, the most common type of dialysis, uses a hemodialyzer or artificial kidney. This machine removes impurities and waste from the blood and returns it to the patient. Before the first dialysis treatment, a vascular access (entrance) point is created. This allows the blood to flow from the body to the artificial kidney and back again. Dialysis treatment typically lasts three to five hours and required at least three times per week.

What are the risks associated with dialysis?

For some kidney conditions and disorders, dialysis can temporarily take over kidney function until your own kidneys have time to heal and begin to function well on their own again. Peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis are both life-saving treatments, especially for those suffering from chronic kidney disease. However, like all medical treatments and procedures, they can have certain side effects that include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • High blood potassium levels
  • Itching
  • Muscle cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Anemia
  • Depression

Anyone requiring long-term dialysis may suffer additional complications like headache, vomiting, drowsiness, dehydration, infection, low sodium or fever. However, when dialysis treatments are done as recommended by a medical professional, it will protect as much normal kidney function as possible. Dialysis also helps prevent complications like kidney failure, which is caused by excess waste and toxins in the blood.

If you or a loved one is in need of high quality, experienced dialysis care in San Antonio contact South Texas Renal Care Group at 210-212-8622. Recognized by Scene San Antonio as one of the area’s best nephrology groups, our physicians are dedicated to managing your health and well being through comprehensive, individualized treatment plans.

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Tips to Pass the Time During Dialysis

Dialysis treatments can last between three and four hours and are done three times a week. When you add it up, that’s 9-12 hours each week you can spend on a number of activities or hobbies to help pass the time and keep your mind engaged.

Activities you can enjoy during dialysis

Your treatment provides you with a good opportunity to catch up on things you’ve wanted to do, but haven’t had the time, or to just relax. Here are a few interesting recommendations:

  • Do
    Catch up things like paying bills, responding to emails, shopping online and other odds and ends that may not be urgent, but need your attention. Being productive not only passes the time, but it gives you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Write
    Bring a laptop so you can blog, journal or tweet about your dialysis experience. If you’re not excited about that idea, you can write about whatever is on your mind, or something you are passionate about.
  • Create
    Knitting, crafting, scrapbooking or enjoying an adult-coloring page are fun, feel-good ways to lift your spirits. Create gifts for other patients, friends or loved ones who need a smile.
  • Socialize
    Take your mind off things and catch up with far away friends and family through your favorite social media tools, or connect with loved ones with text messages.
  • Learn
    Whether it’s reading a book, taking an online class, watching a video or listening to a podcast, the Internet is a great resource for learning. Take advantage of this time and immerse yourself in something new.
  • Meditate
    There are a lot of ways to meditate that do not involve yoga poses! Anything you find enjoyable and helps quiet your mind can have the same benefits as traditional meditation. So try an adult coloring book or tackle a puzzle to help you focus on something other than your treatment.
  • Listen
    Music is a terrific way to pass the time and is one of the best ways to relax during dialysis. Many people who listen to music during their dialysis treatments experience less nausea and pain, so bring your favorite songs, albums or bands with you!

With these tips you can make your dialysis treatments more productive, relaxing and enjoyable. If you need dialysis in South Texas, South Texas Renal Care Group is your resource for experienced, individualized care. Contact 210-212-8622 to learn more about our treatment options.

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