Frequently Asked Questions

Kidney FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Kidney Health

Kidneys perform a “waste management” role in the body and kidney disease is often referred to as a “silent disease”, due to the fact that many people often lose a major part of their kidney function before they start to feel sick. Kidney damage can either be short or long term. Patients facing kidney disease often face the same fear, uncertainty and confusion that many people face with other healthcare problems. Dr Baer and his team are passionate about delivering quality care, and equally as important, education about kidney health and treatment. When people are armed with information they can make better informed decisions and feel confident about life. Below are some common questions that people facing a kidney health care issue ask. For more kidney FAQ, to ask your own questions, or are searching for a kidney specialist in or around Brisbane please get in contact with Dr Baer and his team.

Kidneys are the unsung heroes of your body. They have a very important job of filtering waste and excess fluid out of your blood to make urine.  They also control your blood pressure, help red blood cell production, keep your body’s acid/base balance right and help bone health.

Your GP can do a Kidney Health Check. This includes having your blood pressure checked, having a blood test and a urine test. Together, these three tests indicate how well your kidneys are working. (For more detail see Kidney Terminology and Definitions)

The risk factors for kidney disease are:

  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Having heart failure, or having had a heart attack or a stroke.
  • Having a family history of kidney disease
  • Being obese (with a Body Mass Index > 30)
  • Smoking
  • Previous episode of Acute Kidney Injury (for more details see Kidney Terminology and Definitions)
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

Your GP can perform a Kidney Health Check if you are at risk, to check if you have Chronic Kidney Disease.

Most people with Chronic Kidney Disease do not feel any symptoms until the kidney function (eGFR) is less than about 30%, and sometimes less than 10%. Things you may see or feel if you have Chronic Kidney Disease:

  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Fluid retention or puffiness in the ankles and legs
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficult or restless sleeping
  • Loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, bad breath or a metallic taste
  • Pain in the kidney area in the back (uncommon)
  • Itching
  • Changes in the appearance of your urine or the frequency of urination

If you have any of these symptoms you should see your GP for a Kidney Health Check, as part of general health check as they also occur in other diseases.

  1. To see Dr Baer you will need a referral from your GP or another specialist. Make sure that you have this with you at your appointment or that Dr Baer has received it prior to your visit.
  2. If you have any copies of reports or blood tests, bring these with you.
  3. It is helpful to bring a list of all your current medication that you are taking, including alternative and over the counter medicine, and the dose and frequency.
  4. When you get to your appointment you may have forgotten questions that you wanted to ask so it is a good idea to write these questions down and bring them to your appointment.
  5. It is also a good idea to bring along a support person. They can help you remember some of things that the doctor says. Plus, it is helpful for the people around you to learn about your condition too.

It is important to get your blood and urine tests done before your visit with plenty of time for the results to be made available to Dr Baer. Having the blood test done a few days or a week before the appointment is appropriate. Please call reception if you have a concern or have lost your request form.

The cost associated with seeing a specialist is dependent on the complexity of the condition and the length of appointment time. With a current referral from your GP or another doctor you will receive a rebate back from Medicare. We can make this claim at the time of payment and in most cases your rebate is immediately sent to your bank account (cheque or savings accounts). You will be informed of the estimated cost prior to your first visit.  This first visit will cost more that subsequent visits and will take usually between 30-60 minutes.

Parking and public transport are available at both Mater South Brisbane and Wesley.

Mater Medical Centre:

Parking is available underneath the Mater Medical Centre (fees apply) which is accessed via Vulture Street. As well, there is parking at the Mater Hill Car Park on the other side of the Mater Private Hospital which is accessed via Allen Street. More information regarding parking and drop off areas at the Mater Hospital can be found here: www.mater.org.au/Home/Location/General-Parking

Alternatively, there is a bus stop on Stanley Street and a train station nearby (Southbank Station).

Wesley Medical Centre:

The Wesley Hospital has a multilevel car park (fees apply) which is accessed from the railway end of Chasely Street.  For best access to the Wesley Medical Centre, when entering the car park take the first ramp on the left and take the lifts to ground level to access the Evan Thompson Building.  Then cross the street to enter the Wesley Medical Centre.  Further information is available at http://Wesley.com.au/patients-and-visitors.

Please contact Translink for further information on public transport.

Dr Baer is able to do a Telehealth appointment with patients that meet the geographical location requirements of Medicare and have a supportive GP willing to participate in the consultation. Having spent many years working in regional and remote parts of Queensland, Dr Baer recognises that Telehealth is a great way to improve access to healthcare for people in these locations. There are, of course, limitations to Telehealth and where possible, it is important to foster good working relationships with local health care providers.  Please contact reception on 1300 903 600 to discuss further.

“There is no stupid question! Except, possibly, a question not asked”

– Unknown

Get in touch with Dr Baer and his team

Contact Richard Baer

Dr Baer practices from multiple medical facilities in Queensland. Find the location closest to you.

Contact Richard Baer

Call us on the phone: 1300 903 600
Send us a fax: 07 3378 4407