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Choosing a Kidney Doctor When You Have Kidney Disease 

When you’re diagnosed with early stage kidney disease, you may need to visit a kidney specialist (also called a nephrologist). With just a little research, you can find the nephrologist that fits your needs when you need help in retaining kidney function for as long as possible.                                                           

Why is it important to see a kidney doctor? 

Although your primary care physician (PCP) is trained to handle a wide range of health conditions, a kidney doctor has been trained as an expert in kidney function and diseases of the kidney.

When should I start seeing a kidney doctor?

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD), you’ll want to find a kidney doctor as soon as possible. A nephrologist can run diagnostic tests to determine the current state of your kidneys and prescribe the best treatment course for your stage of CKD.

Where do I start my kidney doctor search?

Here are a couple of suggestions on how to start:

  • If friends or family members have been touched in some way by kidney disease, ask if they can suggest a kidney specialist. Your primary care physician (PCP) can also recommend a kidney doctor for you. If you need to see the doctor immediately, there’s no need to worry. You can switch to a different nephrologist after your first visit if you’d like.
  • Online resources can be very helpful when searching for a doctor. Find a Kidney Doctor on DaVita.com is a great tool for finding a nephrologist in your area. For those who want to dig deeper into their research, there are several websites that allow users to review and rate doctors, including RateMDs.com, Vitals.com and HealthCareReview.com.

What should I look for in a kidney doctor?

Beyond simply seeking high quality care, there may be secondary considerations to take into account when choosing a doctor:

  • Location – You’ll need to find a balance between the ideal doctor and travel time, so consider how close he or she is to your home or workplace.
  • Insurance – If you have health insurance, make sure that the doctor you choose accepts it.
  • Availability – If possible, choose a doctor whose office is able to schedule convenient appointment times and keep them. Some doctors may offer evening or weekend hours, which could be more suitable for you.
  • Compatibility – It’s important to find a doctor who makes you feel comfortable. You’ll be developing a relationship with this person and it’s essential that you feel relaxed enough to share any issues you may have. You’ll want to find someone who will take the time to answer your questions. It’s also important that the doctor’s staff is friendly and helpful.

Kidney doctors are a vital resource in ensuring that you receive the proper treatment for your early stage CKD. DaVita.com and other websites offer tools to help you find a kidney doctor that is compatible with your needs. If you were recently diagnosed with CKD, use these resources and make an appointment with a kidney doctor soon — doing so could help slow the progression of kidney disease.

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