2023 Top Doctor: Melissa Go, M.D.

Editorial StaffMarch 1, 2023
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft


Med School/Year Graduated: University of the Philippines, 1993

Years in Practice: 23 

The field of hypertension is often paired with nephrology, which is the study of kidney health. How are the two related?

Nephrology and hypertension go hand in hand because the kidney helps regulate blood pressure. It does this through many mechanisms, the most significant of which is salt and water regulation as well as regulation of blood-pressure-influencing hormones through the renin angiotensin system. Secondly, hypertension causes kidney disease, and vice versa.   

What are the biggest challenges in nephrology, from your vantage point?

I think in terms of caring for patients, the greatest challenge is in patient compliance. It’s not an easy disease to have [in terms] of the dietary restrictions that we recommend as well as ongoing care like dialysis. It requires a lot of commitment on the patient’s part. 

How do you know when a patient’s kidneys are beyond salvaging and a transplant is required? Do you help patients find transplant surgeons?

There are various ways to establish that kidneys are beyond salvaging, also known as end-stage renal disease. We look at laboratory findings, radiologic findings and sometimes biopsy findings. At that point, a form of renal replacement therapy has to be started – whether it be dialysis or transplantation. We do help patients find transplant surgeons by referring them to transplant centers when the time is right. 

What foods do you recommend patients add and avoid to improve kidney function? 

There are no specific foods that improve kidney health. Just stick to a lower sodium, lower cholesterol and a lower protein diet for better kidney function. We also suggest good hydration, with water as the preferred drink of choice. 

You speak multiple languages. How often do you use these in your practice?

I speak Hokkien, which is the dialect used in the southern part of China, as well as two dialects of Filipino-Tagalog and Visayan. Sadly, Hokkien is not widely spoken in the U.S., and I don’t get to use it too much in my practice. Filipino, however, comes in handy very frequently, especially as the Filipino population in Arizona increases. Some Filipino words are also of Spanish origin, which makes learning Spanish a lot easier. 

What are your hobbies and interests outside medicine?

I like hiking, camping, traveling, cooking, knitting, K-pop and watching F1 racing. [laughs] Is being in “goblin mode” considered a hobby? 

What are you watching on Netflix these days?

I just finished watching Wednesday, Extraordinary Attorney Woo and The Great British Baking Show. 

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”

Seriously, I can’t imagine myself not being a doctor. I grew up in a family of doctors. But if I were to be in an alternative world and I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be a food truck owner!