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Welcome to Northern Florida Kidney Care. Our mission is to inspire hope and enhance the lives of our patients through compassionate, patient-centered health and well-being. Our team provides an integrated clinical practice with an emphasis on hypertension, chronic kidney disease and kidney transplantation. We are committed to providing outstanding kidney care to our patients in the Lake City and Gainesville regions of Florida. We use state-of-the-art Electronic Medical Record systems that enable us to work alongside all of our patients’ healthcare team.
Our experienced physicians are specialists in kidneys and kidney related diseases. This includes care for patients in Lake City and Gainesville with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), Hypertension, Anemia, Kidney Transplantation, Dialysis and more. Below are more details on some of the common conditions managed by Northern Florida Kidney Care. Reference our Patient Education page for more information or call our office at 386-752-6107 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you.
What sets us apart?
At Northern Florida Kidney Care it is our mission to inspire hope and enhance lives through compassionate, patient-centered health and well-being, provided by an integrated clinical practice with an emphasis on hypertension, kidney disease and kidney transplantation.
The gradual decline in kidney function over time is known as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Just as our bodies’ age, our kidneys start to lose function. Typically this is a slow process that does not result in significant impairment, however some patients experience an accelerated decline in kidney function that can result in CKD. Some of the most common preexisting conditions that can cause kidney damage include: diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases that attack the internal structure of the kidney. CKD is based on stages 1 to 5. The mildest case of CKD occurs at stage 1 where some decline in kidney function begins but there is not yet a need for intervention. As a patient advances in CKD, waste products that normally would be filtered by the kidney begin to collect in the body and a multitude of symptoms can potentially develop.
Symptoms may include:
- Weight loss or excess weight gain
- Decreased urine output
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of the body
- Increased tendency to bruise or bleed
A nephrologist’s job is to help preserve the kidney function, educate patients with CKD on how to maintain overall health and lifestyle, and to discuss renal replacement therapy options (dialysis or kidney transplant) when it applies.
Some indicators of kidney failure a nephrologist will look for include:
1. Elevated Creatinine (Creatinine > 1.5 mg/dL or GFR < 45 ml/min)
2. Hypertensive Urgency
3. Proteinuria or Hematuria
4. Severe edema or volume overload
5. Frequent kidney stones
One of the most commonly known options for renal replacement therapy is dialysis. At some point in many patients’ CKD journey they will ultimately lose kidney function (either acutely or chronically) and will require some sort of intervention to help the body filter waste. Dialysis can be performed in two ways:
1, Hemodialysis – A machine acts as an artificial kidney where the patient’s blood is filtered outside the body in a dialysis machine. The tasks that the kidneys would typically be responsible for such as: removing excess fluid, correcting electrolytes, removing waste products and buffering acid production are completed by the machine before returning the blood to the patient’s body.
2. Peritoneal Dialysis – While hemodialysis is done with the assistance of an external machine, peritoneal dialysis occurs when fluid is inserted into the abdominal cavity of the patient. This process similarly helps to remove water, correct electrolytes, discard waste products, and buffer acids like traditional hemodialysis. Once these steps have taken place the fluid is drained from the abdomen.
While many dialysis patients will go to an outpatient dialysis facility to receive their hemodialysis treatment several times per week, there are also options to perform both home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis in the comfort of home during a time of the patient’s choosing. Patients and/or their caretakers can be trained to perform these tasks independently and on their own schedules. A nephrologist will work with each patient to determine which option is the best fit for their lifestyle and medical needs.
Kidney transplantation is another option for many patients with advanced and chronic kidney disease. Having a kidney transplant can provide a more long term solution than dialysis and result in a better quality of life. Because patients are given a functioning kidney in place of their existing failing kidneys, those who receive a kidney transplant typically have more energy, more freedom and a less strict diet. Our physicians are experienced in helping guide patients through the kidney transplant process and can provide more detailed information as to when a patient is an ideal candidate for a transplant.
Hypertension (HTN) – also known as high blood pressure, is where a patient’s blood pressure is elevated to an unhealthy level.
- Normal blood pressure: systolic
- Prehypertension: >120/80 mmHg
- Hypertension: >140/90 mmHg
- Blood pressure treatment goals for hypertensive patients: <140/90
Other hypertension terminology:
Essential (primary) HTN –May be caused by a combination of genetic background, race, diet, weight gain, and other environmental factors. However, the exact cause of this form of hypertension is poorly understood.
Secondary HTN – High blood pressure that may have a specific underlying cause such as: sleep apnea, chronic kidney disease, disorders of the adrenal gland, narrowing of the kidney arteries, birth control pills and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (i.e. Ibuprofen or naproxen). Your doctor will determine if you need to be screened for hypertension at our facility.
Resistant HTN – Blood pressure that is not at goal (<140/90) despite being treated with 3 medications; one of which must be a diuretic.
Anemia is caused when your body is not producing enough red blood cells and is very common in people who also have Chronic Kidney Disease. Red blood cells carry oxygen through your bloodstream, helping your bones, muscles, and organs work properly and are thus extremely important to one’s health and wellbeing. Your kidneys play an important role in the production of red blood cells by sending signals from a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). If you have chronic kidney disease you will lack this hormone and your body will be unable to send the correct signals to produce a sufficient amount of red blood cells. Your nephrologist and healthcare team can work with you to manage your anemia.
Symptoms of anemia may include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Paleness of skin
- Lack of appetite
- Shortness of breath