Chronic Kidney Disease, a Diabetes Complication


Chronic kidney disease is one diabetes complication a person cannot ignore. I know this is easier said than done. It is a condition that is easy to ignore though especially during the early years. The person is feeling fine and everything seems to be working well. There are no symptoms to write home about. Everything is fine and dandy. Right? Wrong! Sorry to be so blunt but my fervent wish is to wake you up to start doing something about this.

Why? Because as we try to ignore and do nothing about it, the extra glucose in the blood is actually eroding the body, bullying the main organs. The effects are not felt yet but soon they will be. For a diabetic is prone to kidney failure (end-stage renal disease). I don't even want to explain what that is because I hate it.

How does chronic kidney disease or nephropathy happen? The kidneys are the body's filter units working 24/7 to remove the waste from the blood. To do this job, it has approximately a million nephrons which have tiny blood vessels called capillaries that filter the waste.

The trouble is diabetes can damage these capillaries with no noticeable symptoms. They therefore become unable to filter out the toxins. The toxins can then stay in the blood instead of being sent to the urine and at the same time the proteins and other nutrients are the ones that get sent to the urine.

Here is another problem posed by the chronic kidney disease. The kidneys have such an excellent filtering system that noticeable symptoms do not appear until much damage has been done, sometimes as much as 80%. So get yourself checked for kidney problems before they get out of hand.

What are the signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease? We know that the early period produces few symptoms. The following are noticeable after much damage generally has occurred:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of confusion and experiencing difficulty in concentrating
  • High blood pressure
  • Hands, ankles and feet are swollen
  • Tiredness and sleeplessness
  • Reduced or poor appetite
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Buildup of fluid
  • Weakness

There is good news. There are things you can do to lessen the risk of chronic kidney disease. And prevention is my most favorite word in the whole website. Even though this is more common to type 1 diabetics, high blood pressure can lead to it too. Many type 2 diabetics have hypertension.

  • The most important thing to do to prevent chronic kidney disease is to control the blood glucose level. Those who do reduce their risk by 35 to 65%.
  • Keep high blood pressure under control because hypertension can damage the delicate capillaries. To do this, eat less salt and maintain a healthy body weight. With advanced damage, the doctor may prescribe some medication. There are medications to lower blood pressure that will also preserve the functioning of the kidney.

And last but not least, let's go to treatment of chronic kidney disease. The treatment will depend on the stage of the condition. About five years after the diabetes diagnosis or even before this, get the doctor to test you for protein in the urine and have this done once a year. The test should not be just proteinuria but also albuminuria.

During the early stage of chronic kidney disease, the treatment will involve tightening up of glucose level as this will cut the progression of the condition in half. High blood pressure has to be controlled too and a diet that is low in both salt and protein to reduce the kidneys workload is adhered. In addition, medication to lower the blood pressure and at the same time decrease the progress of the disease will be good but see the doctor first.

For more advanced cases of chronic kidney disease, there's dialysis where the blood is channeled through a machine that removes the toxins from the blood. There's also kidney transplant, but let's not get to this stage. We know that diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the US and since there are no symptoms to alert us, let us get an annual test for kidney problems.

Refresh Chronic Kidney Disease

See also Keeping the Kidney Healthy

See also More Research on Keeping the Kidney Healthy

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