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The Mass General Center for Renal Education provides a support service for patients and their families where information concerning renal replacement options including hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and transplantation is offered.
In collaboration with MGH nephrologists, experienced renal nurses, a dietician, and social worker, the Center provides education about Chronic Kidney Disease and its management with individualized plans of care that include nutritional counseling, blood pressure management, medication review, and supportive services. The team is dedicated to help patients with renal disease live a full and happy life.
The Center for Renal Education has also received the 2000 Partners in Excellence Award for its leadership, innovation, quality treatment, and outstanding commitment to patient service.
There are several words associated with kidney disease that are helpful to understand:
Symptoms can include:
Reducing dietary protein
Low protein diets may be helpful in slowing the progression of kidney disease. Your physician and dietician can determine if you are a candidate for a low protein diet. Do not start a low protein diet without the guidance of your primary care physician and dietician.
Normal kidneys maintain healthy bones by balancing calcium and phosphorus. This can still be achieved as kidneys begin to fail with medications and a low phosphorous diet. Careful and continuous follow-up of blood values are necessary.
Normal kidneys always make a substance called erythroprotein, which helps the body make red blood cells. When kidney function decreases, less erythroprotein is made. Thus, anemia (a deficiency of red blood cells) can develop, causing further complications. Fortunately, anemia can be corrected through medications prescribed by your doctor. For example, Epoietin Alpha is a medication that replaces erythroprotein. Careful and continuous follow-up of blood values and blood pressure are necessary.
When your kidneys fail or stop working, dialysis is needed to maintain life. Dialysis is a form of kidney replacement therapy to remove waste products from the blood and regulate fluids. There are two kinds of dialysis:
You are the most important member of the healthcare team. You can help us by actively participating in your care. Other members of your healthcare team include:
Being diagnosed with kidney disease can be stressful for you and your family. Now that you have been diagnosed with kidney disease, you may be asked to make some changes in your life. Your healthcare team understand how hard this is for you and wants you to know we are available to help you throughout the process.
You may be asked to change your eating habits and/or begin taking medications to help treat your kidney disease. Changes are often difficult to deal with when you are adjusting to a new diagnosis, going to medical appointments, and learning new ways to take care of your health.
You may feel overwhelmed and/or nervous. These feelings are perfectly normal and if you feel this way, you may find it helpful to discuss your concerns and fears. Although some people are not comfortable expressing their feelings, doing so can help to reduce anxiety.
Your family and friends can also be a source of support. The renal social worker and entire healthcare team are available to help you through this process as well.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Your healthcare team will work together with you and your family to get through this difficult time and successfully make the needed changes in your life.
The links below provide more information.
Analgesic nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease that gradually leads to end-stage renal disease and the need for permanent dialysis or a kidney transplant.
There are many types of anemias that require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below are some, for which we have provided a brief overview.
Diabetes insipidus is a condition that results from insufficient production of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), a hormone that helps the kidneys and body conserve the correct amount of water.
Nephropathy is the deterioration of the kidneys. The final stage of nephropathy is called end-stage renal disease, or ESRD.
Renal failure refers to temporary or permanent damage to the kidneys that results in loss of normal kidney function.
Fabry disease is a rare genetic disorder, seen in all ethnic groups, caused by a deficiency of a lysosomal enzyme.
Glomerulonephritis is a type of glomerular kidney disease in which the kidneys' filters become inflamed and scarred, and slowly lose their ability to remove wastes and excess fluid from the blood to make urine.
Glomerulosclerosis is the term used to describe scarring that occurs within the kidneys in the small balls of tiny blood vessels called the glomeruli.
Goodpasture syndrome is a rare, autoimmune disease that can affect the lungs and kidneys.
Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the urine.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a rare condition that mostly affects children under the age of 10. It is often characterized by damage to the lining of blood vessel walls, destruction of red blood cells, and kidney failure.
Blood pressure, measured with a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope by a nurse or other health care provider, is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls.
IgA nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease that may progress over a period of 10 to 20 years, and can lead to end-stage renal disease.
A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms from crystallization of excreted substances in the urine.
Nephrotic syndrome is a condition often characterized by the following: very high levels of protein in the urine, low levels of protein in the blood, swelling, especially around the eyes, feet, and hands, as well as
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts filled with fluid in the kidneys.
Renal vascular disease is the name given to a variety of complications that affect the arteries and veins of the kidneys.
Systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as SLE, or simply lupus, involves periodic episodes of inflammation of and damage to the joints, tendons, other connective tissues, and organs, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, kidneys and skin.
Vasculitis refers to a group of diseases that result in inflammation, or swelling, of blood vessels. The inflammation damages the vessels, thus affecting the organs supplied by these blood vessels.
LAURIE BIEL, RN, BSN, CNN, of the MGH Center for Renal Education, does not know whether the kidney or the kidney bean was named first – but she does know a great deal about kidney health.
Center for Renal Education
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