Nephrology Update

Categories: Physicians1
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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects more than 1 in 10 individuals in the United States. The care of these patients must be managed by family physicians and nephrology subspecialists. The kidneys often are affected by systemic processes such as diabetes and hypertension, and optimal management of these conditions is critical to slow decline in renal function in CKD patients. These patients are at high risk of cardiovascular disease, and statin therapy is recommended for adults with CKD who are at least age 50 years and not receiving dialysis. Patients with CKD and anemia can be treated with iron therapy and often with an erythropoietin-stimulating agent. Electrolyte abnormalities are managed with dietary changes and drugs. Sodium restriction and modification of dietary protein intake also may be needed. Consultation with a renal dietitian may be helpful. Because many drugs are metabolized by the kidneys, physicians should ensure that drug dosages are appropriate for the level of renal function. Early consultation with or referral to a nephrology subspecialist for patients with reduced renal function, resistant hypertension or electrolyte levels, and other conditions have been associated with improved outcomes in CKD patients.