The kidneys filter blood from capillaries and remove extra water and wastes to make urine. They also help to produce certain hormones and control your blood pressure. Thus, as you can see, the kidneys are very important organ of the body. They maintain overall fluid and mineral balance in the body. When they function incorrectly, they can cause a lot of health problems.
Diabetes is one of the main causes for kidney disease (Diabetic kidney disease or diabetic nephropathy). In fact, 1 out of 4 adults who suffer from diabetes also suffer from kidney disease. Usually, diabetic kidney disease occurs gradually over many years. Let us understand why this happens:
- How does Diabetes Cause Kidney Disease?
- What Lifestyle Factors can Increase the Risk of Developing Kidney Disease If You Have Diabetes?
- Ways to Prevent Kidney Failure If You have Diabetes:
- How to Check If You have Kidney Disease?
How does Diabetes Cause Kidney Disease?
Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar level. When you do not manage this disease, the blood sugar can remain high over a long period which can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to improper filtering of the blood. As a result, the waste from the body is not excreted properly and leads to kidney disease. Additionally, unmanaged diabetes can also lead to high blood pressure which can also damage the kidneys.
What Lifestyle Factors can Increase the Risk of Developing Kidney Disease If You Have Diabetes?
Apart from high blood sugar and high blood pressure, other lifestyle factors can lead to kidney damage in people suffering from diabetes. These factors include the following:
- Smoking cigarettes
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating food items that contain high sodium
- Having heart disease
- Not exercising on a regular basis
- Being overweight
- Having a family medical history of kidney failure
Ways to Prevent Kidney Failure If You have Diabetes:
If you are suffering from diabetes, the first thing your doctor probably will tell you is that you must learn to manage this disease through diet and exercise! If you want to prevent kidney failure, you should:
1Stay within Your Blood Glucose Goals:
On the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, your doctor may have ordered an HbA1c test. This is a blood test that measures the amount of sugar or glucose in the blood over a period of 3 months. Most commonly, the HbA1c goal for patients should be under 7%.
Once you know the goal, the best thing you can do to prevent kidney failure is to stay within that allotted number or range. You can check your sugar levels regularly by using a Glucometer. This can be achieved by taking proper medications and following a strict diet and exercise schedule.
2Take Steps to Control Your Blood Pressure:
The term blood pressure refers to the force with which the blood moves within the vessels. High blood pressure can be dangerous as it can lead to the heart being overworked. This can increase the chances of stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease. Like the blood glucose goal, there is a blood pressure goal that has been set for diabetic patients. This goal should be under 140/90 mm Hg. However, this may vary from patient to patient on the basis of medical history.
3Stick to a Diabetes Diet Plan:
Controlling your diet is very much important to avoid diabetes induced kidney damage. This is because in Type 2 diabetes, even small amounts of weight loss can help the patients to manage their disease properly. You should ensure that your diet does not contain high levels of sugar and calories. The diet should also not have high levels of salt and sodium. You should include lots of fruits, whole grains, vegetables, turkey, chicken and fish in your diet as per your dietician recommendation.
Additionally, you should ask your doctor what weight you should maintain based on your height and health. Try to reach that weight and stay within its range.
Smoking causes a lot of health problems in diabetic patients in which kidney failure is the most common. It makes your blood sugar level harder to control. Smoking can have a negative effect on the normal blood pressure (BP) which can cause impaired kidney function by slowing down the blood flow to the organs. If enough blood is not being filtered by the kidneys, then waste and toxins will not be removed properly from the body!
Regular exercise is very important for diabetic patients. If you are trying to prevent kidney disease, you should exercise regularly. Exercises like running, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, skiing, jogging, and dancing are very good options for diabetic patients. Try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
6Take Your Medications Regularly:
It is very important to take your medicines regularly, as prescribed by your doctor. Even if your blood sugar levels reach a healthy range, you must still take your medications. This is because diabetes has no cure. It is a disease that will be with you forever. Therefore, proper management by taking your medications is very important.
7Join a Support Group for Diabetic Patients:
Feeling supported and being surrounded by the people who are suffering from the same disease can help you to manage diabetes by active discussions and following good practices. This is because patients in support groups tend to share tips and tricks that work for them. For instance, people in the group may be able to give great advice on managing your sugar cravings. They may also recommend helpful dieticians who can make sure you stick to your diet easily!
How to Check If You have Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease in patients with diabetes only shows noticeable signs and symptoms when it has progressed a lot. However, there is a way to know if your kidneys are healthy or not. You must schedule regular urine albumin tests. Albumin is a type of protein present in the blood. If there are high levels of albumin in the urine, it means that the kidneys are filtering it out along with the waste and toxins. This shows that the kidneys are not functioning properly and can alert your doctor to run more tests.
Serum creatinine test is another test that doctors use to check how well the kidneys are functioning. Doctors can use this test to measure the waste filtration rate from the kidneys. This is a type of blood test that shows the creatinine levels in the blood. Creatinine is a type of waste which is produced in muscles by the breakdown of creatine. Normal range of serum creatinine should be 0.6 to 1.2 mg/dL in males and 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL in females.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, remember that by taking care of your health, you can prevent kidney disorders. Healthy lifestyle plays a major role in keeping the diabetes associated health problems at bay. Medlife Shop offers a range of medical devices such as Glucometers, weighing scale, BP measuring instrument etc. which you can use to keep a tab on your health parameters. We also offer a wide range of herbal health supplements that can help you to manage your disease and improve your overall health! Have a look at our extensive catalogue today and order!
As a diabetic patient, you must also schedule regular check-ups with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy.