Understanding the Role of a Nephrologist: A Guide to Kidney Specialists

Internists often have specialties. A nephrologist in Des Moines, IA, and West Des Moines is an internist whose specialty is diseases and the condition of the kidneys. Iowa Kidney Physicians has a team of board-certified nephrologists who can help diagnose and recommend treatment for kidney disease and issues that affect the health of your kidneys.

What Do Nephrologists Treat?

A nephrologist specifically treats chronic and acute diseases of the kidneys. Some conditions that affect your kidneys will be treated by a urologist who is a specialist who treats conditions of the urinary tract. The usual route of treatment is to see your primary care doctor who will send you to a urologist. Depending on what is wrong, the next step would be a nephrologist. You don't usually go to a nephrologist first.

Nephrologists treat conditions that affect the function of your kidneys. Usually, you will see a nephrologist for conditions that damage your kidneys and their functions.

Diseases That Affect the Kidneys

The function of your kidneys can be affected by other conditions you are suffering from. Your first visit to a nephrologist will be a discussion of your health history and things that may be causing your kidney condition. High blood pressure and diabetes are two of the things that can cause an adverse reaction to your kidney function. The object is to slow down or stop the deterioration of your kidneys. Tests will be performed that can help your nephrologist in Des Moines, IA, and West Des Moines, IA to diagnose what is going on in your kidneys.


Treatment for kidney disease begins with controlling the conditions that are causing it, so getting and keeping blood pressure and diabetes under control is essential. If your kidneys are so damaged that they are no longer removing the waste and fluid from your kidneys, you will need to get dialysis. This is a life-saving procedure, but it can restrict what you can do in your life. If you are a candidate, a kidney transplant may be a consideration. Kidney failure is a serious situation and needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.

When you need a nephrologist in Des Moines or West Des Moines, IA, you can count on the team of doctors at Iowa Kidney Physicians. Reach us at (515) 336-6557 or (515) 243-3161 to make an appointment.