More Diabetes Research on Keeping the Kidneys Healthy
More diabetes research results are on the way. Diabetics need this information so they will get the help they need in dealing with kidney problems which is one of the complications of diabetes. We have previously covered how to keep healthy with diabetes and how to prevent kidney problems.
We are now in for more diabetes research results. For instance did you know your kidneys are at risk when you undergo special x-ray tests that use a contrast agent? They need not pose a risk for the kidneys. How? The doctor may give you water before and after the tests to protect the kidneys or may order another test without the use of contrast agent.
How does the diabetes harm the kidneys? Well, the results of the diabetes research will tell us. High level of blood sugar and high blood pressure both do harm to the kidneys to the point they can't do the job of cleaning out waste. The waste stays in the blood instead of going out of the body in urine. That's why keep both blood sugar and blood pressure as normal as possible.
The trouble is one can't tell if there's any kidney damage until it's too late because you won't feel any symptoms. The only way to find out is through a urine test. Diabetes research tells us that the test will show if there is any leakage of protein in the urine. Its presence is a sign of kidney problem.
There is more and more protein leakage as the damage to the kidneys goes on. Diabetes research says this is called proteinuria. The waste build-up accumulates in the blood, resulting in more damage. This goes on until the kidneys break down.
Diabetes research further informs us that this damage is called diabetic nephropathy. This can lead to end-stage renal disease. What is that? It is what happens when the kidneys have failed. In this case, dialysis is needed to take out the waste from the blood or a kidney transplant to stay alive. There is no cure for this yet so it's important to take steps to delay, slow down or even prevent it from occurring.
What can you do if diabetes dealt you a dirty hand and gave you kidney problems? No one can cancel it but here is the good news. Diabetes research says you can reduce its speed or prevent it from getting worse. How? By taking your medication, controlling your blood pressure and getting a regular kidney test.
Will you know when your kidneys stop working? Here lies the problem. You won't know at first because it happens ever so slowly that you won't feel sick for a long time even if the kidneys are only 50% able to do the job. You will not have any symptoms until they have almost failed. So get your urine and blood checked during your yearly physical check-up because the diabetes research says this is the only way to find out in a timely manner.
So you see, you cannot wait for the symptoms to give you the sign of kidney trouble ahead. There will be no warning signs that you're starting to have kidney problems. The only way to know, as the diabetes research tells us, is to get your doctor to check your urine for protein and your blood for creatinine.
You will feel the symptoms when your kidneys fail because you will be sick to your stomach. You will also feel exhausted and your extremities may swell because of the added fluid. So it's imperative that you try to find out if you have kidney problems ahead of time. How? Let's make the diabetes research tell us.
There are two tests that will tell both you and your doctor if your kidneys are up to par, that is, how well they're functioning. Have these done at least once a year during your annual physical check-up.
- Check the blood for creatinine which is a waste the body makes which builds up if the kidneys aren't doing their job well. The creatinine level will help the doctor check the GFR (glomerular filtration rate) which will show how well the kidneys are doing in cleaning the waste.
- Get your doctor to check your urine for protein.
Now what do you do when the kidneys fail? Let's ask the diabetes research, shall we? There are two things. One is dialysis which cleans up the waste that the kidneys can no longer do. The other one is kidney transplant. Let's take them one at a time.
There are two types of dialysis. Both you and your doctor can decide which one works best for you:
- In hemodialysis, the blood runs through a tube from the arm to the machine which cleans out the waste and added fluid. Then the blood runs back to the arm.
- In peritoneal dialysis,the stomach is filled with special fluid that gathers the waste and extra fluid from the blood. The fluid is then drained from the stomach and thrown away.
The second treatment, so the diabetes research tells us, for the complete kidney breakdown is kidney transplant. You will get a new kidney from a donor but the waiting list is long. Besides, this new kidney will have to be a perfect match. It can be either donated to you by a close family member, a friend or someone totally unrelated to you.
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