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Methodist Healthcare

Nephrology

Nephrology is the branch of medicine that focuses on the kidneys. A nephrologist is able to evaluate proper kidney function, identify and treat kidney disease and care for you if you have kidney cancer.

Kidney specialists in San Antonio

Kidney disease can affect your life in many ways. That's why it's important to have nephrology experts close to home.

At Methodist Healthcare, we offer award-winning kidney care with one of the top kidney transplant programs in the nation.

Whether you are diagnosed with kidney stones or kidney cancer, our compassionate team is ready to offer the best care for your needs.

To learn more about our nephrology services, call the Methodist Healthcare HealthLine at (210) 575-0355.

Symptoms of kidney disease

Many people who have chronic kidney disease don't know it because the early signs can be very subtle. However, knowing the symptoms of kidney disease can help you get the treatment you need to feel your best.

While these symptoms might signal kidney disease, they could also be the result of other conditions. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Changes in urination

Kidneys make urine, so when the kidneys are failing, you may have to urinate more frequently. You may feel pain or pressure when you urinate, or your urine may contain blood.

Anemia

When you have kidney disease, your body isn't able to create many red blood cells. This results in anemia, which can make you feel fatigued and cold. It can also lead to problems with memory, concentration and dizziness.

Swelling

Failing kidneys don't remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, face and/or hands.

Uremia

Uremia occurs when there is a severe buildup of wastes in the blood. It can make food taste different and cause bad breath. This build-up of waste can also cause nausea, vomiting, skin rashes and severe itching.

Shortness of breath

Trouble catching your breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways: extra fluid that builds up in the lungs and anemia.

Leg/flank pain

Some people with kidney problems may have pain in the leg, back or side related to the affected kidney.

Kidney cancer

Kidney cancer affects more men than women. Most cases occur in people who are between 50 and 70 years old, but it can develop in children and adults of any age.

Kidney cancer (also called renal cancer) occurs when cells in the kidney divide without control or order. Normally, cells divide in a regulated manner. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably when new cells are not needed, a mass of tissue forms. This is called a growth or tumor.

The term cancer refers to malignant tumors, which can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor does not invade or spread. Both tumors require cancer care, but treatment options may vary.

Some cancers we provide treatment for are:

  • Renal cell carcinoma (the most common)
  • Transitional cell carcinoma
  • Wilms' tumors
  • Renal sarcomas

Causes and complications of renal cancer

Renal cancers typically develop due to genetic changes called mutations. These mutations may be inherited, but most occur after birth. Exposure to cancer-causing substances can trigger a genetic mutation. As the kidneys filter the blood, these substances can build up, cause damage to the cells and sometimes lead to cancer.

Kidney cancers sometimes grow to a very large size before they are detected. Symptoms from the growth of the tumor include pain in the abdomen or back, blood in the urine, fever and weight loss. Kidney cancer may interfere with the body's ability to filter the blood, which may require dialysis treatments.

Kidney transplant

We also have one of the top kidney transplant programs in the U.S. Our team has completed over 4,700 kidney transplants and performed the most live donor operations in the nation since 2009.

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