Over 37 million people in the U.S suffer from kidney disease, however most are unaware

By Philip T. Ondocin, MD


March is National Kidney Month, and it is a great time to remind our community of the importance of our kidneys. The physicians of Nephrology Associates of Syracuse (NAS), are experts in the field of kidney care. Nephrology is the branch of medicine that deals with the functions and diseases of the kidneys.

The kidneys serve many important functions, including filtering blood and wastes, regulating blood pressure, producing vitamin D and controlling production of red blood cells.

Nationally, over 37 million people suffer from kidney disease, however most are unaware. This is a serious concern, as by the time symptoms appear, kidney disease may have progressed to a more serious stage.

The potential symptoms of kidney disease include fluid retention in the legs and face, difficulty breathing, decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating and skin itchiness. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the major causes of kidney disease. Other risk factors include heart disease, obesity and a family history.

The only way to find out if people have kidney disease is through blood and urine tests to measure kidney functioning and check for protein in the urine. Lab test results are extremely important to measure kidney function, and a convenient, on-site lab at the practice provides most results at the time of the office visit. Telemedicine virtual visits are also available.

Our physicians and staff work together to develop an individualized care plan to slow the progression of kidney disease. One-on-one in-person and virtual visits are available for patients and their family member or significant other to meet with a kidney disease practitioner, and have an in-depth discussion about the patient’s condition, options for care, diet, exercise, and more to best manage kidney health. Virtual visits are also available for medical nutritional therapy from a registered dietitian.

To prevent kidney disease and lower risk for kidney failure, control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy body weight, avoid smoking and check with your doctor before taking certain medications.

I recommend that individuals with risk factors or who are experiencing symptoms should be screened by their primary care physician. If warranted, your provider will make a referral for a kidney consultation at our office.

Nephrology Associates of Syracuse main office is located at 1304 Buckley Road, Syracuse. As many of our patients are frail and not able to easily travel, we offer monthly kidney care at our satellite clinics located in Camillus, Fayetteville, Fulton and Vernon.

Please refer to our web site at www.nephrologysyracuse.com or call 315-478-3311 for information.

Physician Philip T. Ondocin is board-certified in nephrology and board-certified in internal medicine. He is also a certified hypertension specialist. He practices at Nephrology Associates of Syracuse, PC., www.nephrologysyracuse.com.