Med School/Year Graduated: Medical College of Wisconsin, 2001
Years in Practice: 12
What does a nephrologist do? How did you become interested in the discipline?
A nephrologist diagnoses and treats diseases of the kidney. My patient population includes dialysis patients, kidney transplant recipients, [and patients with] high blood pressure, electrolyte abnormalities and kidney stones. I became interested in nephrology during the first year of my residency, as I found it very complex and it required a lot of problem-solving.
“Hypertension” sounds like a mental-health issue. How is it mechanically related to the kidneys?
The kidneys are one of the main organs that control blood pressure. This is based on the handling of dietary sodium (salt) and enzymes within the kidney. There are emerging studies that suggest blood pressure should be controlled to a level less than 130/80 and, in some cases, even lower.
Are there any advances in dialysis for patients? Can they still expect to be hooked up to a machine for hours?
These days we have a couple of types of home-administered dialysis. Home therapies are more gentle on the body and allow the patients more freedom than traditional dialysis. My ultimate goal for most dialysis patients is a kidney transplant, as this is life-changing.
Is it true that simply drinking an adequate amount of water prevents the majority of kidney stones?
Yes, this is correct. I typically advise my patients to drink between 80-100 fluid ounces daily. Limiting dietary sodium intake is beneficial as well.
What are common misconceptions you encounter? Is there one piece of information you wish everyone knew?
I’d like patients to know that just because you are diagnosed with abnormal kidney function, that does not necessarily mean you will end up on dialysis. A second misconception is that there is pain associated with abnormal kidney function.
You speak Spanish. How often do you use it in your work?
I have several Spanish-speaking patients and use it daily.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my wife and three kids (ages 4, 8 and 10). I also like staying active with weightlifting, hiking and, when I really feel like punishing myself, playing golf.
“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”
I would be a professional golfer. (If I had any talent.)