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Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and failure in adults. Failure to control blood sugar levels and blood pressure can cause damage to capillaries in the kidneys called glomeruli, which clean the blood. This damage leads to a secretion of protein in the urine. The only way to detect kidney damage early is to look for these proteins in the urine. Ask your healthcare provider to test your urine for protein.
It can take up to ten years for symptoms to develop. The key to prevention is management of blood glucose and lowering blood pressure and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Untreated diabetes can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis, a procedure which removes wastes from the blood in place of the kidneys.
Diabetes is the number one cause of adult kidney failure. This means that years of uncontrolled or unmanaged diabetes can damage your kidneys. To prevent this, you must be actively engaged and participate in your diabetes management. This includes consistent measurements of your blood glucose as discussed by you and your physician. There are devices available that allow you to measure your blood glucose levels throughout the week with the least amount of discomfort.
It also includes "knowing your numbers." Your numbers are hemoglobin A1C, your blood pressure, and your eGFR. Your healthcare team should discuss your readings with you and help you identify where you need to be based on your individual plan of care. A regular exercise schedule that considers your competing demands will help you better manage your diabetes and sustain an exercise plan that is part of your daily or weekly routine.
Diabetes does not have to lead to kidney failure. You must be 100% committed to taking the necessary steps that will keep your diabetes managed and your kidneys healthy.
Anyone with diabetes should be concerned about kidney disease, particularly if they also have high blood pressure. If you have diabetes, you should have your blood and urine checked regularly for warning signs of kidney disease. Elevated levels of blood urea nitrogen (BUN) or creatinine in the blood or protein in the urine would be cause for concern.
While diabetes is on the Most Wanted poster at the dialysis center post office, it’s very, very, very important to remember that simply having diabetes does not guarantee kidney failure.
It is uncontrolled diabetes that is the real criminal. This may seem like a simple semantic difference: diabetes vs. uncontrolled diabetes. But please understand that it’s not diabetes that wipes out your kidneys. It is the high sugar that can come from diabetes that is not controlled. Keep your diabetes in control. Keep your kidneys. Simple recipe.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.