Dr. Keith Ramos Kidney, Specialist Says Kidney Disease Is Preventable

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Dr. Keith A. Ramos, a Nephrologist, who runs three offices in the Rio Grande Valley under the name Kidney Doctors of South Texas, P.A.
Dr. Keith A. Ramos, a Nephrologist, who runs three offices in the Rio Grande Valley under the name Kidney Doctors of South Texas, P.A.

By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

The medical community has been fighting kidney disease for years. Today, great advancements in kidney transplantation, and effective new medications are making a huge difference in this fight. There have been new technological advancements and new medicines have come in the market, which were not available 10 years ago. These new developments and nephrologists specializing in this field are a great combination and formidable fighters against this disease.

We had an in-depth conversation with Dr. Keith A. Ramos, a Nephrologist, who runs three offices in the Rio Grande Valley under the name Kidney Doctors of South Texas, P.A.

Dr. Ramos explained the importance of learning more about the disease in order to prevent it. He pointed out that 1 in 5 American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease today.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney disease often has no symptoms; it can go undetected until it is very advanced. Dr. Ramos points out that early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease.

Dr. Ramos chose the medical profession at an early age. He grew up in a small community by the name of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. “I was about ten years old when I first met Dr. Rivera, the only family doctor in town.”

He said that from there on the idea of becoming a doctor never left his mind. He felt that the services that Dr. Rivera was providing for the small village were of great benefit for the community.

“Dr. Rivera motivated me with his kindness; he was always ready to help his patients no matter the time of the day or night.”

Dr. Ramos was born in New York City in 1968, and was an adopted child to Jesus Ramos and Laura Diaz both from Barceloneta. After three years living in New York, his adopted parents took him to Puerto Rico. “My adopted parents were afraid that my biological parents would take me away.” He said that he grew up in front of the beach and mingled with the fishermen.

Did you ever find your biological parents? “No, I know that my mother was Polish, and my father was from the Philippines. I learned this through my stepsister who talked with the caseworker. But I also learned through a DNA test that confirmed what I was told by my stepsister.”

He went to college in Puerto Rico and obtained a scholarship from the U. S. Army to study medicine. Dr. Ramos said that his father, a janitor, instilled in him the principles of accepting responsibility and working hard. “My mother passed away when I was twelve years old.”

“I graduated from medical school in Puerto Rico in 1994 from Universidad Central del Caribe. After that, I joined the U.S. Army because I had a scholarship with them that paid my medical school, so I did one year of internship in El Paso, Texas.”

Thereafter he worked as a general medical officer at William Beaumont Army Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also worked for about two years with the 101st Airborne in Kentucky.

Once he finished in Kentucky; he went back to Puerto Rico and did three years in internal medicine training at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, followed by two years of Nephrology Fellowship.

Dr. Ramos came to the Valley because during the training program he met someone from South Texas. “I first got a call from a colleague in Laredo Texas to interview and after that I got called for an interview in McAllen—and stayed here.” Dr. Ramos said. Two years later in 2005, he decided to start his own practice, Kidney Doctors of South Texas, P.A. in Mission, Texas.

Dr. Ramos is married to Zoraly Nuñez. They met in a hospital in Puerto Rico as they worked during the summer time. “I was 24 years of age, and she was 19,” Dr. Ramos said.

“We married two years after we met, and we have been married and very happy for 20 wonderful years. We have one son named Keith and he is 17.”

Is your son following in your footsteps? “He is not sure yet, however, he has not made up his mind about what he wants to do in the future.”

His wife, Zoraly, is a TV personality; she is the producer and host of a popular local medical TV show that airs once a week through Channel 48, the local Univision affiliate. She has been doing it for the last five years. For Dr. Ramos, the most important people in his life are his family.

Dr. Ramos loves to ride bikes and play soccer with his son. “I also like to collect American coins as a hobby because I like the history of them,” he said. For the daily stress, he reads and sometimes jogs.

Dr. Ramos at one time was a professional volleyball player and decided to leave his team because of his medical career. How many years did you play? “For about five years,” he said.

Advancements in Treating Kidney Disease

He said, “In regards to kidney transplantation there has been a milestone of advancement and that includes new medication that helps the patients; 10 to 15 years ago that was not possible.”

Dr. Ramos also mentioned that many people do not know anything about kidney disease—until it’s too late.

“Unlike many diseases, kidney disease often has no symptoms until it is very advanced,” says Dr. Ramos and for that reason it is important to get tested.

He pointed out that testing is even more important for populations that are at higher risk for kidney disease, such as African Americans.

Dr. Ramos says that it is simple to test and check for kidney disease:

•Measure the level of serum creatinine in your blood to estimate your (GFR) glomerular filtration rate.

•Measure the level of protein in your urine. Increased levels of protein show your kidneys are not working right.

•Check your blood pressure.

How can you tell if you are at risk for kidney disease? Ask yourself these questions:

•Do you have diabetes, problems with your blood sugar?

•Do you have high blood pressure?

•Do you have heart disease?

•Did your mother, father, sister, or brother have kidney disease? Kidney disease runs in families.

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are at risk for kidney disease. Now is the time to get tested. Your health care provider will order two simple tests to check your kidneys—a blood test to check your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a urine test to check for protein.

Future Plans

His immediate plans are to bring another nephrologist to the practice and open a new office in Weslaco. Currently, he operates three offices one in Mission, one in McAllen and another one in Rio Grande City.

The most satisfaction he gets from his profession is the fact that the patients are grateful. “In this area, the patients are very appreciative; it is a cultural thing” he said.

One other thing that Dr. Ramos emphasized is that his practice is unique because of his staff, “They are efficient and very likeable.” Aside from that he also spends more time with his patients to learn more about them.

Would you change anything in your life if you had the chance? “I grew up very happy, and I am very happy with what I do as a nephrologist, so I have no regrets.” How would you like to be remembered when you leave this earth? “Well, that I am a hard working and caring physician.”

Dr. Keith Ramos became our Mega Doctor of this month for his dedication to his profession and the kind service he provides to his patients.

He has great admiration for the Mexican culture that is prevalent in South Texas, as he said, “The patients are very appreciative” of their doctor.

You may contact him at Kidney Doctors of South Texas, P.A. by calling 956-519-2315 for an appointment at the office located at 1300 South Bryan Road, Suite 106 in Mission, Texas 78572.

VALLEY LOCATIONS

Kidney Doctors of South Texas, P.A.

1300 S. Bryan Rd. Ste. 106

Mission, Texas 78572

(956) 519-2315 Phone

(956) 519-0483 Fax

 

Kidney Doctors of South Texas, P.A.

1900 S. Bryan Rd. Ste. 12

McAllen, Texas 78503

(956) 688-6800 Phone

(956) 688-6804 Fax

 

Kidney Doctors of South Texas, P.A.

2787 Pharmacy Rd.

Rio Grande City, Texas 78582

(956) 487-5600 Phone

(956) 487-5656 Fax

MDN

EDUCATION

University of Puerto Rico -Arecibo Campus

1985-1988 – Premedical Program

1988 – Associate Science

University of Puerto Rico -Rio Piedras Campus

1988-1990 – Biology Major

1990 – Bachelor of Sciences

Universidad Central del Caribe -School of Medicine -Bayamon, Puerto Rico

1990-1994

1994 – Medicine Doctor

GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION

Internal Medicine Internship

William Beaumont Army Medical Center -El Paso, Texas

1994-1995

Internal Medicine Residency

Dept. of Veterans Affairs Medical Center -San Juan, P.R.

1998-2001

Nephrology Fellowship

Dept. of Veterans Affairs Medical Center -San Juan, P.R.

2001-2003 Education