People suffering from diabetes for prolonged period may develop diabetic kidney disease. It is necessary to stay alert and take necessary steps to prevent damage of kidneys from diabetes.
Diabetes and the Prevention of Kidney Disease
Importance of Kidneys
Kidneys are made up of nephrons that filter out waste from blood that eventually pass out through urine. In addition to this kidneys also produce essential hormones that help in regulating blood pressure and stimulate bone marrow to make red blood cells. Kidneys are also vital for maintaining balance of different chemicals and salts in our blood at optimum level.
Signs and Types of Diabetic Kidney Disease
When the filters of the kidney become damaged due to diabetes they leak abnormally high quantity of protein into urine. Albumin is the main protein that is leaked. Abnormally high level of albumin in urine is the first sign of diabetic kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy).
There are two main types of diabetic kidney diseases depending on the amount of albumin found in urine. When 30-300 mg of albumin is leaked through urine per day the condition is called “microalbuminuria” and “proteinuria” if it exceeds 300 mg albumin per day.
Development of Diabetic Kidney Disease
Raised sugar level in blood gives rise to certain chemicals that have potential to damage the filters of kidneys. Such increased sugar level in blood can also initiate “linkage” and “cross-linkage” of certain proteins that trigger scarring of filters (glomerulosclerosis).
This process goes unnoticed for several years and healthy tissues of kidneys are replaced by such scarred tissues. Microalbuminuria indicates initial stage of damaged kidney. If proper preventive measures are not taken or this stage remains unnoticed then the affected kidneys may progress to proteinuria stage leading to kidney failure.
There are hardly any symptoms at early stage of diabetic kidney disease. As the extent of kidney damage gets complicated symptoms tend to develop. Primary symptoms like feeling tired, not just feeling well are deceptive to be associated with diabetic kidney diseases.
Symptoms at advanced stage include poor appetite, weight loss, cramped muscles, pale looks, swollen feet from fluid retention, dry itchy skin and puffiness around eyes. Health problems like anemia and imbalance of essential chemicals (phosphate, calcium) may be taken notice as signs of severe kidney disease.
Detection of Diabetic Kidney Disease
Early detection of diabetic kidney disease is helpful in preventing further damage. Diabetic persons should undergo routine check up of their urine to determine the amount of albumin present in it.
Blood tests measuring Creatinine is also used to ascertain how well the kidneys are functioning. Creatinine is produced by muscles and normally cleared by kidneys from the blood. Increased level of Creatinine in blood indicates that the kidneys are not functioning well.
Preventing and Managing Diabetic Kidney Disease
Controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and body weight along with proper diet and medicines are vital steps in preventing and managing diabetic kidney disease. Routine check ups of urine and blood should be done for early detection of damage. There are certain medicines that can worsen the conditions of diabetic kidneys as side effect. Such medicines should be replaced with appropriate drugs. Quit smoking, cut down on alcohol consumption and reduce consumption of animal protein to protect your kidneys.