Diabetes & kidneys

If your blood glucose levels are high most of the time, the small blood vessels in your body are under immense pressure. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, the kidneys cannot purify blood properly and this increases your risk of suffering serious kidney damage. Each year 20-40 per cent of diabetes patients develop kidney disease.

Diabetes damages the small blood vessels in the kidneys, impairing kidney function and results in the body retaining more water and salt than it should. Wastes and fluids build up in the blood instead of leaving the body in the form of urine. In addition when the kidneys are damaged, protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine. Diabetes not only damages the nerves, but it also causes difficulty in emptying the bladder.

Symptoms

The filtering function of the kidneys begins to drop and hence the body retains various wastes. A diabetic patient reports weight gain, ankle swelling and increased urination at night. Kidney problems can be detected only if blood is checked for creatinine and urine for protein.

Preventive measures

Do not wait for signs of kidney damage to have your blood and urine checked.

*Ensure control of blood glucose levels. Control blood pressure; aim for lower than 130/80.

*Go through regular urine analysis and measurement of protein (microalbuminuria) in urine at least once a year. Take a blood test at least once a year to check creatinine levels.

*Control lipid levels. LDL (“bad”) cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dl, HDL (“good”) cholesterol should be above 50 mg/dl and triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl.
nInform your doctor if you experience difficulty or pain during urination, have cloudy or blood-spotted urine, or a strong odour to your urine.

*Exercise regularly and stop smoking.

Once you suffer kidney damage, you cannot undo it. But you can slow down the damage. Keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure under control will keep your kidneys healthy, so that you lead a healthy and productive life.

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