Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Diabetes and Kidney Disease

September 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

chalkboard with diabetes complications and risk factors

Nearly half of all patients with kidney failure also have diabetes. While other factors such as diet, heredity, and other medical conditions are also shown to lead to kidney failure, high blood pressure and diabetes are the leading cause of kidney failure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2 out of every 5 Americans is expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime. And 1 out of every 3 adults with diabetes will develop chronic kidney disease. Those numbers are staggering, but there is hope. As the country begins to focus on eating more healthy, being more active, and having regular health screenings; scientists are hopeful that the prevalence of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes might decrease.   

High levels of blood glucose levels damage small blood vessels in the body. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, the kidneys cannot properly clean your blood. This will lead to your body retaining more salt and water than it should, which can result in weight gain and ankle swelling. As the kidneys are damaged proteins that would otherwise stay in the blood, slip through the cracks and end up in urine. It can also lead to a buildup of waste materials in the blood that should have otherwise been filtered out.

Detecting kidney disease early relies on two tests. Looking for an increased excretion of albumin in the urine is one way. A healthy kidney will release almost no albumin. So, any increase in the amount of albumin is a sign of kidney disease. This is why it is important that anyone with diabetes is tested for albumin levels on a yearly basis. A yearly blood test to measure the amount of creatine in the blood is also important in screening for kidney disease. Creatine is a waste product that is normally filtered out, and the more creatine in the body, the lower the estimated glomerular rate (eGFR) is. Kidney disease is present when the eGFR is 60 milliliters per minute or less. If caught early, there are steps that can be taken to prevent, lower, and even reverse the risk of developing severe kidney diseases.

People with diabetes best chance of avoiding developing kidney disease is prevention. Yearly tests to measure their A1C, eGFR, and albumin levels are extremely important. As is good diabetes care; keeping your blood glucose levels under control, sticking to a diet, regular exercise, and keeping blood pressure under control are all important factors in maintaining kidney health.

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