Dr. Christie Thomas, a nephrologist at the University of Iowa and the Iowa City VA Healthcare System, discusses his favorite organ, the kidney. He talks about why Veterans come to need transplants. The doctor discusses the functions of the kidney in the body, some of its surprising roles in human health, as well as how and why kidneys fail. Additionally, he shares details about dialysis and the Hepatitis C positive kidney transplant program from a previous episode.
In adults, the most common cause of kidney disease in the United States is diabetes. The second most common cause is presumed to be high blood pressure or hypertension. The most common hereditary cause of kidney disease in the United States is polycystic kidney disease which affects between 1 and 500 to 1 and 1,000 people. Overall, about 37 million adults in the United States are estimated to have chronic kidney disease with most being undiagnosed. Blood tests are the most common method for detecting kidney disease by looking at kidney function. Other health consequences of chronic kidney disease include increased occurrence of infections, low red blood cell count, loss of appetite, and depression. Dr. Thomas highlights all this in detail and more.
Born and raised in India, Thomas came to the United States when he was 2. His family returned two years later. Thomas did his undergraduate studies in India and postgraduate studies in England. He returned to the United States in his early 30s and was drawn to Iowa City, which had the largest public hospital in terms of the number of beds in the country at the time, as well as Iowa City VA Healthcare System, which was known for the strength of its research. Since then, Dr. Thomas has come to love Iowa and working with Veterans. He describes them as some of the best patients he’s ever had.