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8836 N. Hess, Suite C
Hayden, Idaho 83835
PH: 208.762.7760
FAX: 208.762.7740

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Dr. Joshi Answers Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do your kidneys do?

Think of your kidney as a sophisticated filter or dishwasher. You generally have two of them. Blood circulates to your kidneys or "dishwashers" where it gets purified. The "impurities" come out in the urine we make everyday.

Q: If I still make urine, do I have kidney problems?

A: It is important to note that people with very advanced kidney failure continue to make urine. I call this urine "unclean" because it is not getting rid of waste products. Just because you still produce urine, do not assume you do not have kidney problems.

Q: What is Creatinine?

A: A test to measure your kidney function is a blood test called a creatinine. The normal range for creatinine is 0.7 to 1.0. Creatinine above 1.0 generally indicates that your kidneys are not functioning optimally or are "slow"

Q: What is normal Creatinine?

A: Normal creatinine ranges from 0.5 to 1.2, depending upon your age and muscle mass. The higher the blood creatinine, the slower the kidney function. NINA will monitor your kidney function periodically by evaluating you at a physician visit and checking your blood creatinine. At different levels of blood creatinine, other problems may occur.

What is kidney dialysis?

A: Dialysis is a procedure by which the body's impurities are removed. This can be accomplished by a procedure call hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. We typically initiate dialysis therapy when the kidney function gets below 15% of normal.

Hemodialysis (See illustration) is a procedure by which the patient's blood circulates through a machine to be cleaned and is returned.

Peritoneal dialysis (See illustration) is a procedure by which special fluid is placed in the abdominal cavity frequently throughout the day to remove the body's impurities.

Q: What is kidney transplantation?

A: In place of dialysis, for a patient with no kidney function, sometimes kidney transplantation is an option. A kidney transplant comes from an anonymous kidney donor or a living person. (See illustration) Obtaining a kidney transplant is a lengthy process which can exceed two years. Because of this lengthy wait, many patients do dialysis therapy while waiting for a kidney transplant.

Q: If I have kidney failure, what can I eat or drink?

A: In general, this is a confusing area. Experts agree on restricting salt intake. Your physician at NINA may ask you to restrict potassium, protein or phosphorus. Please do not do this until you are instructed to do so. People often ask about drinking water to help the kidneys. This is an old wives tale. Please do not drink a lot of water, as it may be harmful to your. Failing kidneys can not deal with large water loads. Drinking too much water can also cause problems with edema and fluid on the lungs (congestive heart failure).

Q: What vitamins can I take?

A: As your kidneys fail, some vitamins can accumulate. Therefore, it may be dangerous to consume large quantities of over-the-counter vitamins. Because herbal tonics and remedies lack scientific studies showing their safety, I recommend against them in kidney failure.

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