Patient Education

Central Maryland Nephrology would like to be your partner in health care. Feel free to ask your questions and share your concerns with us. We will work with you to develop a wellness program for the care and treatment you need.

We welcome you to our practice and look forward to caring for you.

Central Maryland Nephrology provides a full range of medical services including the following:


Acute Renal Failure

Acute renal failure (ARF), often referred to as acute kidney injury, occurs when the kidneys suddenly stop filtering waste products from the blood. This sudden loss of function can result from injury, trauma, infection, or from complications around the time of surgery. 

Causes of Acute Renal Failure

Acute renal failure can be caused by a loss of blood flow to the kidneys, or when blocked or damaged kidneys prevent urine from flowing. Although ARF can affect anyone, it is more common in older people, and those who suffer from underlying conditions that include the following: ...


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Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) refers to the gradual loss of kidney function over a long period of time. The kidneys are responsible for eliminating waste and excess water from the body. Loss of kidney function causes a dangerous buildup of waste and fluid. Chronic kidney disease is most often associated with diabetes and high blood pressure, and requires prompt treatment to keep life-threatening complications from developing. ...


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Dialysis FAQs

What is dialysis?

Dialysis is a process that substitutes for kidney function when the normal operation of the kidneys is interrupted. In a healthy body, the kidneys serve to regulate fluid levels in the body and filter waste products. Dialysis performs these functions when the kidneys are unable to remove fluid or toxins from the body. ...


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Duplex Ultrasound

The duplex ultrasound is a diagnostic test administered to assess blood circulation. It combines the techniques of traditional ultrasound with those of Doppler ultrasound. Traditional ultrasound uses sound waves to create black-and-white images of the veins and arteries. Doppler technology, on the other hand, uses sound waves to track circulating blood, generating color images of blood as it flows through the body. Using this combination of techniques, duplex ultrasound helps to distinguish several important characteristics of the blood vessels, including speed and direction of blood flow and diameter of the vessels themselves. Duplex ultrasound can also detect the presence and extent of any obstruction in the blood vessels, such as cholesterol deposits or blood clots. ...


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Edema

Edema (water retention) is swelling caused by an excessive accumulation of fluid in the body. It typically affects the hands, feet, arms, ankles and legs, but can develop in any part of the body. The lower legs are particularly susceptible to edema due to the force of gravity.

Normally, the kidneys filter the blood and help to maintain a proper metabolic balance. However, under certain conditions, too much fluid is retained and swelling results. Mild edema may be inconsequential but, because fluid buildup can result from a serious medical condition and have grave consequences if left untreated, a physician should be consulted when symptoms are severe or prolonged. ...


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Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolytes are ionized materials found naturally in the body that help to regulate nerve and muscle function, fluid levels and help maintain proper acid or pH levels in the body. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and chloride, which also help to regulate the function of many bodily systems. Imbalanced electrolyte levels may develop as a result of impaired kidney function and causing troubling symptoms. ...


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End-Stage Renal Disease

The final stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD), end-stage renal disease occurs when the kidneys are functioning at less than 15 percent of their normal capabilities, and are no longer able to filter waste from the blood. The kidneys experience complete or near-complete failure, and cannot function on their own. ...


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Hematuria

Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells in the urine. When blood is visible in the urine, it is called gross hematuria. Microscopic hematuria is visible only under a microscope and is most often discovered as part of a routine medical exam.

Causes of Hematuria

Bleeding can occur at any location along the urinary tract. This includes the kidneys, ureter, bladder, urethra and the prostate in men. While blood in the urine is not always the sign of a serious disease or condition, it may be an indication of any of the following conditions: ...


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Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis ("dialysis," for short) is a blood-cleansing procedure used as treatment for chronic kidney failure. The chief function of the kidneys is to filter waste products from the blood. When the kidneys fail, hemodialysis takes over their function. During hemodialysis, blood is removed from a vein in the patient's arm (the leg is also used, albeit much less frequently), circulated through a filtering machine, and returned to the body through an artery. ...


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Hemodialysis Access Management

Hemodialysis is a common treatment method for kidney failure that filters the blood and removes waste and extra fluids, allowing only clean blood to flow through the body. Removing the excess waste can help control blood pressure and monitor the balance of chemicals such as potassium and sodium. While this treatment can be highly effective, there are times when the filtered blood flow requires special management to ensure a healthy flow. ...


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Hyperkalemia

Hyperkalemia is a metabolic disorder in which there is an elevated concentration of potassium in the blood. Potassium is necessary for proper functioning of the nerves and muscles, including the heart muscle, but an excess of the electrolyte may be life-threatening. Normally, almost all potassium in the body is found in the cells and organs with very little circulating in the bloodstream. ...


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Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia is an electrolyte imbalance in which the sodium level in the body is abnormally low. Because sodium helps to regulate the way the body retains fluid, too little sodium results in the accumulation of too much water in the cells. Cellular swelling can cause many medical problems, ranging from mild to potentially fatal. Hyponatremia is most frequently the result of drinking too much water, and is a common medical problem for marathon and triathlon athletes. ...


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Kidney Failure

Kidney failure refers to a decline in kidney function to the extent that the patient cannot live long without dialysis or a kidney transplant. Kidney failure can occur suddenly (acute renal failure) or gradually over time. Most often, kidney failure is permanent and is referred to as end-stage renal disease. Kidney failure can be the result of loss of blood flow to the kidneys or a blockage that prevents urine from exiting the kidneys. Blood or urine flow can be interrupted by severe dehydration, underlying disease conditions, certain medications, surgical complications or trauma. ...


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Kidney Stones

A kidney stone, also known as renal calculi or nephrolithiasis, is a hardened mass of mineral and acid salts that separates from the urine and travels through the urinary tract. The urine normally dilutes and dissolves these substances, but when the composition of urine is unbalanced, crystallized stones can form. Kidney stones are a common but painful urinary-tract disorder; men are more likely than women to get them. Kidney stones can cause severe pain, but usually do not cause any permanent damage to the urinary tract or body. ...


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Kidney Transplant

A kidney transplant is the replacement of a nonfunctioning kidney with a healthy donor kidney to restore proper waste management and blood filtering in the body. Candidates for kidney transplantation are typically patients who have kidney failure, or are in the advanced stages of kidney disease that has not responded to treatments such as medication and dialysis. The replacement kidney can come from a living or deceased donor. Although there are several risks associated with kidney transplantation, it is often effective in restoring kidney function. ...


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Kidney-Function Evaluation

Because kidney disease does not usually produce symptoms in its early stages, many patients who have deteriorating kidney function are unaware of it. Regular kidney-function evaluations can detect kidney problems in their earliest stages, and help slow damage.

There are several tests that are performed to detect problems with kidney function; they are especially effective in patients who are asymptomatic. In many cases, kidney disease is first discovered during a routine blood or urine test. ...


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Lupus Nephritis

Systemic lupus erythematosus, commonly known as lupus, is a disease in which the the immune system produces proteins that attack the body and cause damage to the kidney, brain, joints and skin. Lupus nephritis is a condition in which the the kidneys become inflamed as a result of systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus nephritis can lead to impaired kidney function or, in extreme cases, kidney failure. ...


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Metabolic Acidosis

Metabolic acidosis is a condition where there is an excess build up of acid in the body fluids or when the kidneys do not remove enough acid from the body.

Types of Metabolic Acidosis

There are several types of metabolic acidosis, which are caused by various conditions: ...


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Nephritis

Nephritis (kidney inflammation) is most often caused by autoimmune diseases that affect major organs, although it can also result from infection. Nephritis can cause excessive amounts of protein to be excreted in urine, and fluid to build up in the body. It can affect people of all ages, although its cause differs depending on whether children or adults are affected. In children, nephritis is often the result of infections caused by streptococcus bacteria, while in adults it is often the result of vasculitis, pneumonia or hepatitis. ...


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Nephrology

Nephrology is the branch of internal medicine that focuses on care of the kidneys, and diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease and disorders. Many kidney problems are systemic, and require medical evaluation and intervention not only by nephrologists, but by specialists in other fields, such as immunology or rheumatology. ...


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Peritoneal Dialysis

Dialysis is a treatment to filter the blood and remove waste products when the kidneys are no longer functioning properly. During hemodialysis, the patient's blood circulates through a machine to be cleansed before re-entering the body. This procedure takes place in a medical setting under the supervision of a healthcare professional. ...


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Peritonitis

The peritoneum is the lining of the inner abdominal wall. It serves as a protective covering for the abdominal organs. Peritonitis is a bacterial or fungal infection of the peritoneum.

Types of Peritonitis

There are two types of peritonitis: primary peritonitis, which originates in the peritoneum and secondary peritonitis, which is the result of an injury or infection that spreads into the abdominal cavity and affects the peritoneum. Peritonitis may occur for a variety of reasons. ...


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Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease, also known as PKD, is a genetic disorder that involves the development of cysts within and around the kidneys. A cyst is a non cancerous, fluid-filled sac that can vary in size and sometimes grow extremely large. When these cysts form, the kidneys fill with fluid and may become enlarged, resulting in decreased kidney function and in extreme cases, kidney failure. ...


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Proteinuria

Proteinuria is an abnormal amount of protein in the urine. While waste products are filtered out of the blood to leave the body through the urine, protein is essential in protecting the body against infection and ensuring proper fluid circulation. When protein is found in the urine, it may be a sign of chronic kidney disease. ...


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Renal Artery Stenosis

Renal artery stenosis (RAS) is the narrowing of one or both of the renal arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood to the kidneys from the aorta. RAS often causes high blood pressure and reduced kidney function, but many times it has no symptoms until it becomes severe. Most cases of RAS are caused by a condition called "atherosclerosis," the clogging, narrowing and hardening of the renal arteries. RAS develops when plaque builds up on the inner wall of the renal arteries, causing them to harden and narrow. RAS can also be caused by fibromuscular dysplasia, an abnormal growth of tissue within the wall of the artery, which also causes the blood vessels to narrow. ...


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Renal Biopsy

A renal biopsy is a procedure in which a piece of tissue is extracted from a kidney to help diagnose a kidney disorder. There are two kidneys; located in the back of the abdominal cavity, they help to balance water, salts and minerals in the blood; filter waste products from the blood; and produce urine. ...


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Renal Nuclear Medicine Scan

A renal (kidney) nuclear medicine scan is a diagnostic test used to evaluate kidney function and diagnose certain kidney diseases. It is an extremely effective diagnostic tool because, in addition to showing the anatomy of the kidneys, it reveals how well the kidneys are functioning. During the scan, a radioisotope or tracer is injected into a vein, and followed to and through the kidneys with special detectors; the process is viewed on a computer imaging screen. The images produced show the delivery of fluid into the kidneys through the bloodstream, the buildup of waste in the kidney, and the excretion of fluid from the kidneys through the ureters and into the bladder. Being able to analyze kidney function allows physicians to diagnose many kidney diseases and problems more quickly and accurately than is possible with standard imaging tests. ...


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Renovascular Disease

Renovascular disease is the blockage or narrowing within the renal arteries or veins, the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the kidneys. The arteries are affected much more commonly than the veins. Renovascular disease can cause kidney damage or kidney failure. This condition occurs most often in older patients, although young women may also be at risk for a certain type of renovascular disease called fibromuscular dysplasia. ...


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Retroperitoneal Ultrasound

A retroperitoneal ultrasound is a diagnostic test used to examine the area behind the intestines and other abdominal organs. It allows doctors to view the patient's kidneys and ureters and can help diagnose a number of conditions, such as renal cysts or gallstones. This procedure is painless and relatively quick. ...


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Urinalysis

Urinalysis is a test performed to analyze a patient's urine in order to assess overall health and to detect any possible disease conditions. It is normally administered in the doctor's office as part of comprehensive medical examination and may also be administered to diagnose the cause of a patient's symptoms. ...


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Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common infection of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. The urinary tract refers to just the bladder and the urethra, and an infection can develop in either of these areas. These infections occur much more frequently in women than in men and may cause intense pain and discomfort. ...


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Vascular Access for Dialysis

Dialysis, short for "hemodialysis," is a blood-cleansing procedure used as treatment for chronic kidney failure. The chief function of the kidneys is to filter waste products from the blood. When the kidneys fail, dialysis takes over their function. During dialysis, blood is removed from a vein in the patient's arm (the leg is also used, albeit much less frequently), circulated through a filtering machine, and returned to the body through an artery. Before dialysis begins, a point of vascular access (the site where blood is removed and returned) must be created. ...


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