How is kidney disease treated in people with diabetes?

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In people with diabetes, kidney disease can be treated with:

  • Self-care: Important treatments for kidney disease are tight control of blood glucose and blood pressure. Blood pressure has a dramatic effect on the rate at which the disease progresses. Even a mild rise in blood pressure can quickly make kidney disease worsen. Four ways to lower your blood pressure are losing weight, eating less salt, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and getting regular exercise.
  • Drugs: When these methods fail, certain medicines may be able to lower blood pressure. There are several kinds of blood pressure drugs; however, not all are equally good for people with diabetes. Some raise blood sugar levels or mask some of the symptoms of low blood sugar. Doctors usually prefer people with diabetes to take blood pressure drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
    ACE inhibitors are recommended for most people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. Recent studies suggest that ACE inhibitors, which include captopril and enalapril, slow kidney disease in addition to lowering blood pressure. In fact, these drugs are helpful even in people who do not have high blood pressure.
  • Diet: Another treatment some doctors use with macroalbuminuria (having large amounts of protein in the urine) is a low-protein diet. Protein seems to increase how hard the kidneys must work. A low-protein diet can decrease protein loss in the urine and increase protein levels in the blood. Never start a low-protein diet without talking to your health care team.

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Important: 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.