Why is it important to check my kidney function if I have diabetes?

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Dr. Jack Merendino, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Ongoing monitoring of your kidney function is an essential part of regular diabetes care. Both high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure damage the kidneys, and diabetes and hypertension are the two most common causes of kidney failure. There are several simple tests that will determine how well your kidneys are working.
Most doctors measure a blood creatinine level two to four times per year, each time a hemoglobin A1c level is done. Creatinine is a by-product of muscle metabolism and is normally eliminated from the body through the kidneys. If your kidneys are working properly, they filter out most of the creatinine, and the levels in the blood will remain low. Normal levels vary with age and gender, but a normal creatinine level is up to about 1.5 mg/dL or so in an adult man and up to about 1.2 in an adult woman. If your blood creatinine level is high, you cannot take metformin, which is the most common medication used to treat diabetes, because of the possibility of a rare side effect called lactic acidosis.
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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.