Q: When and why did you decide to specialize in nephrology?
Umesh Dalal, MD: I decided to specialize in nephrology during my internal medicine residency in 1990 because of the complex medical issues associa ted with nephrology such as electrolyte imbalance, acid base issues and the effect of electrolyte abnormalities in day-to-day medicine.
Jwalant R. Patel, MD: My father is a doctor and as a growing kid I have seen my father treating patients with great love and respect, so I guess medicine was my primary affair. I have never thought about being anything other than a physician in my life. I was fascinated by dialysis during my medical training and that’s why I have decided to pursue nephrology as a carreer. (Dialysis is a lifesaving procedure that a kidney doctor performs when your kidney fails).
Local Flair: Will St. Luke’s handle all aspects of kidney care, especially the range of diseases that you treat: beginning stage to end-stage, and transplants?”
Umesh Dalal, MD: St. Luke’s will handle all aspects of kidney care including chronic care such as dialysis and hypertension and acute care such as electrolyte abnormalities. St. Luke’s will also handle kidney transplant in the Bethlehem campus.
Jwalant R. Patel, MD: I love treating all kinds of kidney diseases that includes but not limited to acute and chronic kidney disease, end stage Kidney disease including dialysis, metabolic work-up for kidney stone, hypertension, fluid and electrolytes disturbance and everything in between.
Local Flair: What signs and symptoms do you look for in diagnosis of kidney disease?
Umesh Dalal, MD: Kidney disease often has no signs or symptoms. It is asymptomatic and progressive therefore regular follow-up with a nephrologist and blood testing is necessary.
Jwalant R. Patel, MD: Kidney disease has a wide range of symptoms and it also depends on the kind of kidney disease one can have. Most of the chronic kidney disease patient don’t look for help until there kidney function goes below 45% that’s when they start to have some symptoms. Symptoms vary and include weakness, nausea, leg swelling, decreased appetite or sleep disturbance.
If you have a kidney stone you can have back pain which may radiate to the groin and sometimes you may also have blood in your urine. A vast majority of people that we see have chronic kidney disease and do not have any symptoms and just because you don’t have symptoms does not mean that you don’t have any underlying kidney problem.
Local Flair: Are there preventative measures we can take to keep our kidneys at optimum health?
Umesh Dalal, MD: Controlling diseases that commonly cause kidney disease like hypertension and diabetes along with avoiding medicine which can damage your kidneys such as pain relievers (Advil) and proton pump inhibitor-PPI (Omeprazole).
Jwalant R. Patel, MD: A healthy lifestyle is a key to keep your kidneys healthy. Controlling other associated medical problems like diabetes and hypertension is also a key to prevent or stop the progression of chronic kidney disease.
Local Flair: What can a patient expect during their first visit with you? What is your philosophy for treatment?
Umesh Dalal, MD: Patients can expect a discussion of the purpose of their visit with an explanation as to why they were referred to me along with a detailed discussion of kidney function, diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
Jwalant R. Patel, MD: I believe that “knowledge is power” and more you know better you can help to take care of your kidneys. Most of the patients that we see in the office don’t have enough medical knowledge so I spend most of my time to simplify things for my patients so they can understand the underlying disease process. I keep my patient in the center of the discussion.
Local Flair: What would you like our readers to know about St. Luke’s Nephrology Associates – Monroe?
Umesh Dalal, MD: I have been a physician and resident in the Monroe County community for a long time and intend to stay in the Monroe County community in order to provide comprehensive kidney care in the office, in the hospital and if necessary in the dialysis unit.
Jwalant R. Patel, MD: St. Luke’s has multiple campuses and regardless where you get your care at you still have access to the vast sources that St. Luke’s offers. Over goal is simple – patient satisfaction and excellent medical care.
Local Flair: What other departments within St. Luke’s help you achieve success?
Umesh Dalal, MD: All departments of medical care are helpful as kidney function is an integral part of all body systems. Vascular surgery and interventional radiology are particularly helpful for our dialysis patients.
Jwalant R. Patel, MD: Interventional radiology and vascular surgery are the backbone behind our success. An interventional radiologist can help us to put dialysis catheter, perform a kidney biopsy and also declot the vascular access, while a vascular surgeon can help us to create greater vascular access which would be the lifeline to our dialysis patient.