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CKD Nephrologist (Kidney Doctor) Discussion Guide


Topics to discuss with your nephrologist

When it comes to talking about the details of your chronic kidney disease (CKD) with your doctor, it may help to have a list of things to ask so you make sure you cover everything you want to discuss. Below are some questions to help get the conversation started with your primary care physician or kidney doctor. 

Remember, your doctors genuinely want and need to know what you’re thinking, so speak up! The more you contribute to your kidney care planning, the more personalized your treatment will be.

Early Stage

Questions about early stage ckd

Questions to ask your primary care physician or nephrologist (kidney doctor)

  • What causes kidney disease
  • What steps can I take to improve my overall health?
  • What signs or symptoms of CKD should I look for and monitor?
  • Is there anything I may experience that I should contact you about?
  • Do I need to modify my diet? Should I see a renal dietitian
  • Are there other health conditions that could impact my CKD? 
  • Do I need to modify my medications or treatments for other current conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure?
  • What should I expect next with CKD? 
  • How can I reduce my risk of complications?

If you aren't seeing a nephrologist yet:

  • When should I start seeing a nephrologist? Do I need a referral?

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Late Stage

Questions about late-stage ckd

Questions to ask your nephrologist (kidney doctor)

  • What other health conditions should I monitor?
  • What signs and symptoms of CKD or end stage renal disease (ESRD) should I look for?
  • Is there anything I may experience that I should contact you about?
  • Which ESRD treatments may be right for me at the next stage?
  • Is there anything I can do now to be ready for kidney failure treatment?
  • What can I do to keep my kidneys working as long as possible?
  • I’m thinking about hemodialysis. Can you explain why I need surgery for a  hemodialysis access site and what I should expect?
  • I’m thinking about home peritoneal dialysis. Can you explain PD catheter placement to me?
  • What are the benefits of home dialysis
  • Am I a candidate for a kidney transplant? If so, what do I need to do?
  • What should I expect during stage 5 CKD (also known as ESRD)?
  • I’m concerned about my future with CKD. Can you refer me to a counselor or therapist?

Questions for your renal dietitian

Ask your nephrologist about end stage renal disease (esrd)
If your kidneys fail at stage 5 CKD, your nephrologist can help you make a smooth transition to treatment—and thrive.
Get questions to ask about esrd
Understanding the stages of ckd
There are 5 stages of chronic kidney disease. Your stage is determined by your level of kidney function. Knowing your stage and what steps to take can help you stay your healthiest.
Learn about the stages