According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million Americans have kidney disease and millions more are at an increased risk. If kidney disease worsens, wastes build to high levels in the blood; complications such as high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, and nerve damage can occur and increase the risk of heart and blood vessel disease. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or kidney transplant. Early detection and treatment can often help keep CKD from getting worse.
Nephrologists in Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute are the experts in treating chronic kidney disease (CKD). Our innovative model of health management focuses on educating and involving patients in their care. We work to slow the progression of CKD, identify risk for cardiovascular disease, and evaluate CKD patients to decrease risk for complications from surgery.
While physicians design treatment plans, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nutritionists, and educators round out the health management team. By learning about CKD from the health management team and carefully following its treatment plan, patients may be able to slow the progression of their CKD. A recent CKD Clinic analysis documents the powerful positive impact that our team care approach has had on the effective management of the medical and educational issues relating to CKD.
The CKD Clinic Program
At their initial visit, patients undergo physical examination and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) testing, along with a comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation that includes an ECG,lipid profile, and a serum cholesterol level check. The GFR, calculated from the results of a blood creatinine test along with age, race, gender and other factors,is the best way to measure kidney function and determine the stage of kidney disease.
Depending on the patient’s results and stage of disease, a nephrologist will outline an individual treatment plan and arrange for the patient to meet with the CKD Clinic health management team charged with his or her care. A nurse practitioner follows the patient’s treatment progress.
At subsequent visits, a registered dietitian will provide nutritional and dietary interventions for renal disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes as needed. Patients needing future dialysis are assessed on a regular basis for an access specialist.
Who Can Benefit from the CKD Clinic?
Patients with a GFR of <45 ml/min would benefit from the CKD Clinic. (The GFR must be determined because the serum creatinine is not a thorough marker for kidney disease.) The clinic accepts referrals for disease evaluation. If you do not know your GFR, please set up an evaluation. People with a family history of kidney disease or uncontrolled hypertension are at an increased risk for developing kidney disease.
Prepared by Joseph V. Nally, Jr., M.D.
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