By Daniel Casciato
Kidney disease is a widespread health issue affecting people of all ages, including children. Kidneys filter waste and excess fluid from the body, produce urine, regulate blood pressure, and balance electrolytes.
When the kidneys are not functioning correctly, various health problems can occur. In children, kidney disease can be caused by birth defects, infections, inflammation, genetic disorders, and certain medications. Therefore, early detection and treatment are essential to managing kidney disease and preventing long-term complications.
Pediatric nephrologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases in children. They work closely with families to provide comprehensive care, including managing symptoms, monitoring kidney function, and coordinating with other healthcare providers as needed.
Dr. Mariselis Rosa-Sanchez is one such pediatric nephrologist who is committed to raising awareness and preventing kidney disease in children. She holds board certification in pediatrics and pediatric nephrology from the American Board of Pediatrics. Her clinical interests include hypertension, dialysis, and kidney transplantation. Since 2016, she has been affiliated with the pediatric nephrology department of KIDZ Medical Services.
“Kidney disease is a major public health issue affecting millions of children and adults who are at risk, many of whom are unaware of their condition,” she says. “One way to address kidney disease prevention and treatment is by emphasizing early detection and education during childhood.”
Dr. Rosa-Sanchez’s approach to care is unique in several respects. First, she focuses on preventive care, as many kidney problems can be prevented by addressing factors such as diabetes and hypertension.
Second, she offers her patients 24/7 communication, which is not typical in traditional medical practices. Her desire to reach a broad population led to her success as an Influencer on Instagram, where she is @KidneyLovers. As a result, her Instagram account has gained international attention, with people worldwide seeking her advice and asking her questions.
“Social media enables me to educate patients and others on ways to protect their kidneys, including posting recipes and discussing different factors that can impact kidney function, such as alcohol, cigarettes, and obesity,” she explains.
Finally, Dr. Rosa-Sanchez is studying to become a plant-based chef. She is incorporating this knowledge into her practice by teaching patients about the significance of diet in protecting their kidneys.
“I encourage patients to consume more fruits and vegetables, which have been shown to slow the progression of kidney disease,” she says.
As part of her ongoing effort to educate and promote kidney health, she intends to develop a plant-based menu for renal health for patients and their families.
In her practice locations in South Miami and Boca Raton, Dr. Rosa-Sanchez sees many common illnesses, including urinary tract infections, electrolyte abnormalities, and various kidney-related issues.
Hypertension is another common illness she sees frequently. Since it’s often called a silent disease with no symptoms, checking blood pressure on a regular basis is crucial.
“We offer 24-hour blood pressure monitoring at the clinic to detect hypertension early, especially in cases of white coat hypertension,” she says.
White coat hypertension is when a person’s blood pressure increases when measured in a medical setting, such as a doctor’s office or hospital, but is otherwise normal when measured outside of that setting. This can happen because some people may feel anxious or stressed in a medical environment, which can increase blood pressure.
“By monitoring blood pressure throughout the day, including during sleep, we can get a more accurate diagnosis,” she notes.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend checking blood pressure in patients under three years old, Dr. Rosa-Sanchez emphasizes the importance of monitoring blood pressure in high-risk patients, such as those born prematurely or with renal malformations, those with urinary tract infections or taking medications that can increase blood pressure, and those with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy. She believes it’s necessary in these cases to check blood pressure regardless of age.
Dr. Rosa-Sanchez places a significant emphasis on monitoring the kidney function of premature babies at a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease later in life. Premature babies are particularly vulnerable due to their underdeveloped kidneys and the fact that they often require medical interventions, such as mechanical ventilation or medication, that can damage the kidneys. In addition, the long-term complications include chronic kidney disease, hypertension and protein in the urine.
Therefore, it’s crucial to closely monitor kidney function in premature babies to detect any signs of kidney disease early and take proactive steps to prevent its progression. By implementing these preventative measures, Dr. Rosa-Sanchez is helping to ensure that her patients have the best possible outcomes in the long term.
Dr. Rosa-Sanchez’s dedication to her patients and her passion for preventing kidney disease are evident in her approach to care. She notes that education is the key to preventing kidney disease, and she continuously seeks new ways to teach her patients and the community how to protect their kidneys.
For more information or to make an appointment, visit bit.ly/DrRosa-Sanchez.