Urology and Nephrology
Urology is a branch of medicine that deals with the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders related to the urinary tract. Urologists are specially trained medical professionals whose area of study and work focuses on the female and male urinary tracts which includes the urethra, urinary bladder, ureters, adrenal glands and kidneys. They also treat a patient’s male reproductive system, which includes the penis, prostate, seminal vesicles, vas deferens, epididymis and testes.
Nephrology is a specialisation in medicine that concentrates on the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders related to the kidney. While nephrology is considered a branch within internal medicine, urology is a medical as well as a surgical speciality. Nephrologists, specialists of the kidney, rely on non-surgical methods for treating patients. Some methods of nephrological treatment include dialysis, administering medication, balancing fluids within the body, regulating electrolytes and regulating blood pressure.
A common nephrological procedure is dialysis or the clinical purification of blood which otherwise is a normal function of the kidneys. The two types of dialysis are haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Haemodialysis is a way of cleansing the blood of toxins, extra salt and fluids through a dialysis machine. The procedure involves the blood to be circulated through a filter (dialyser) connected to a dialysis machine. The treatment may be performed several times a week. Peritoneal Dialysis takes place in the body without any blood manipulation. A sterile dialysis fluid is infused into the abdomen where it remains for a period of time and is then drained, bringing out waste products and the excess water from the body. Peritoneal dialysis requires access to the abdomen which is gained through the use of a catheter. The catheter is inserted through the abdominal wall into the abdominal cavity by a surgeon or a nephrologist under general or local anaesthesia. This system forms a permanent channel between the body and the peritoneal dialysis bags for exchange of fluids. Home dialysis is an arrangement wherein dialysis can be conducted from home at the convenience of the patient. Peritoneal dialysis is the most common home dialysis treatment. The patient is trained to perform dialysis with little or no assistance. The home training nurse or nephrologist may also direct a caregiver to perform dialysis for a dependent patient. There are two types of home haemodialysis available to patients: conventional home haemodialysis and short daily home haemodialysis. The choice of treatment for a patient depends on a variety of factors: their medical condition, lifestyle and level of comfort in administering treatment at home. The nephrologist helps the patient choose the most efficient and convenient treatment based on their individual requirements.
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