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Support for Kidney Disease

Specialists at NYU Langone provide ongoing support to adults who have been diagnosed with and treated for chronic kidney disease, a progressive condition in which these organs are unable to properly filter waste from the blood.

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If you’ve been treated for kidney disease, NYU Langone offers both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services through Rusk Rehabilitation.

Kidney disease can cause muscle weakness and peripheral neuropathy, which is numbness, tingling, or pain in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. Treatment for kidney disease can also cause symptoms. For instance, dialysis treatment and kidney transplantation surgery can lead to weakness and fatigue. Rehabilitation can help you recover and restore function after treatment.

If you experience symptoms, a doctor who specializes in rehabilitation medicine, called a physiatrist, evaluates you. He or she can prescribe rehabilitation therapies to improve your strength and endurance and relieve symptoms. A team of specialists, including occupational and physical therapists, may provide therapies to build strength and help you perform everyday tasks.

Inpatient services include physical therapy exercises to build strength to help you safely perform activities such as standing, balancing, walking, and climbing stairs. Rehabilitation exercises are performed daily in the hospital for 10 to 14 days. After you leave, you may use a walker or cane to assist you.

Our dietitians provide education about any dietary changes that can address conditions—such as diabetes—that increase the risk of kidney disease.

If you have neuropathy, a doctor may prescribe medications to relieve pain.

Outpatient rehabilitation services are designed to strengthen muscles and improve balance and posture to maximize function, so you may safety negotiate stairs, ramps, and sidewalks. A physical therapist may perform gait training with an assistive device, such as a walker or cane, with the goal of improving your mobility, so that you no longer need the device.

Our experts teach you exercises to use at home or in a gym to maintain strength throughout treatment. Outpatient treatments continue two times per week for up to three months.

Blood Testing

Your doctor regularly monitors kidney function by testing the blood for levels of waste products. He or she determines the glomerular filtration rate, which helps measure how well the kidneys are filtering blood. The doctor also tests the blood for anemia, which is a deficiency in the number of red blood cells. These tests can help to determine if you require dialysis or kidney transplantation.

Heart Health

Heart disease is common in people with chronic kidney disease. For this reason, your NYU Langone doctor may recommend taking steps to improve your heart health.

If a blood test determines that you have unhealthy levels of cholesterol in the blood, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or prescribe medications to improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.

Lifestyle changes may include eating a diet low in saturated fats and high in fiber, which is found in many fresh fruits and vegetables. Your doctor may also recommend regular exercise if you are healthy enough.

Psychological Support

Living with a chronic illness and receiving dialysis can lead to depression, anxiety, or other emotional difficulties. Your doctor can refer you to NYU Langone social workers and psychologists for counseling.

Integrative Therapies

Integrative therapies, such as massage and acupuncture, can help to lower stress levels during dialysis and other types of treatment for kidney disease. Experts at Rusk Rehabilitation provide these and other therapies to help improve your wellbeing.

Our Research and Education in Kidney Disease

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.