Diabetes and Kidney Disease

We all know that a kidney disease is a complication of diabetes in an uncontrolled diabetic.  This article covers the measures to be taken to avoid kidney complications in diabetes.

Uncontrolled blood glucose in diabetics damages their kidneys. The damage caused to kidney due to diabetes is called as diabetic nephropathy. The probability of suffering with diabetic nephropathy increases in cases of diabetics who smoke and if Diabetes is associated with other conditions like hypertension and elevated cholesterol levels. Diabetic nephropathy can lead to kidney diseases which requires dialysis and kidney transplantation due to Diabetes.

Catching it early:

Since the symptoms of this condition aren’t visible in its early stages, you need to undergo tests on a regular basis.  It is even more important to get checked for kidney disease if Diabetes associated with other risk factors like high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure. If detected early, the effects of diabetic nephropathy can be reversed.

Common symptoms of this disease include the following:

  • Swelling in legs and feet
  • Detection of albumin in urine
  • Decline in glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
  • Elevated arterial blood pressure

Laboratory investigations:

  • Serum creatinine and urine tests – check the levels of creatinine, a waste product that your kidneys remove from your blood
  • Albumin urine test – checks for albumin, a protein that can pass into the urine if the kidneys are damaged
  • Imaging tests, such as an Ultrasound – provide pictures of the kidneys. The pictures show the size and shape of the kidneys, and will check for anything unusual.
  • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) – one of the most common blood tests to check for chronic kidney disease. It tells how well your kidneys are filtering.

What are the treatment options?

Medication to lower the blood pressure is the most commonly prescribed form of treatment to prevent or slow the damage of kidneys. There are other lifestyle changes that have to be incorporated in order to keep a check on the condition:

  • Limit sugar intake and keep blood sugar levels within the target range
  • Exercise regularly and work towards keeping your heart healthy
  • Limit protein intake, as it could put extra pressure on your kidneys
  • Limit salt intake to control blood pressure
  • Quit smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Have regular visits to your doctor who treats your Diabetes and to the nephrologist ( a specialist doctor that treats kidney disease)

Diabetes can be managed well with an awareness about treatment and prevention of complications. Don’t let it bog you down! With the above mentioned simple lifestyle changes and taking care of your general well-being, you can beat the disease and emerge a winner!

-Dr.Bhavani Sagar Surampallly


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