Chronic kidney disorders are on the increase nowadays, partly as a result of widespread diseases such as diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to chronic renal insufficiency. In this case, patients will only survive if they are given renal replacement therapy (dialysis or a kidney transplant).
Nephrology is a sub-discipline of internal medicine and is concerned with kidney diseases and hypertension. It covers prevention, diagnostics, all non-surgical treatments and follow-up care. Performance of extracorporeal blood purification techniques (dialysis, apheresis, immunoadsorption) and the care of patients with a kidney transplant also fall within the scope of nephrology.
Because kidney diseases often entail no symptoms or pain at first, their early diagnosis is particularly important. If detected early enough, the loss of renal function can still be prevented or at least delayed, meaning that patients are spared dialysis. This is one reason why specialists always advise patients to have their kidney function regularly assessed by their GP.