How diabetes affects your kidney
Diabetic nephropathy is the medical term for kidney disease caused by diabetes. It is the most common
cause of kidney failure in most of the developed and developing countries. The role of the kidneys is to act as an organ of filtration and thus filters and removes the body’s waste products and other chemicals from the blood.
All people with diabetes are susceptible to kidney disease, but those who have type 1 diabetes or who develop type 2 diabetes at an early age are at particular risk. Recent research indicates that nephropathy can even affect people with prediabetes.
High glucose levels in the blood can damage the membranes within the kidney’s nephrons that are responsible for filtering the blood and forming urine.
The kidneys can experience thickening and hardening (sclerosis), which weaken the ability to function.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can also damage the kidneys. This damage can take a long time to develop and often goes unnoticed for years.
Unhealthy cholesterol levels (high “bad” LDL or insufficient “good” HDL) in people with diabetes may also lead to the development of nephropathy.
Excessive “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream causes the particles to stick to the artery walls and contribute
to the buildup of plaque and clogs in the blood vessels.
Recent research shows that obesity and overweight are the risk factors for chronic kidney disease, especially in people with high blood pressure.
Symptoms: Throughout its early course, diabetic nephropathy has no symptoms. Symptoms develop in late
stages as a result of excretion of high amounts of protein in the urine or due to renal failure:
Foot Edema: Swelling, usually around the eyes in the mornings; later, general body swelling may result,
such as swelling of the legs
1. Foamy appearance or excessive frothing of the urine
2. Unintentional weight gain (from fluid accumulation)
3. Anorexia (poor appetite)
4. Nausea and vomiting
Malaise (general ill feeling)
3. Frequent hiccups
4. Generalized itching
Simple diagnostic test: The most basic method to test for albumin is a urine dipstick test. A coated dipstick will change color if small amounts of albumin are present. A more precise measurement can be attained by testing over a specified period of time. A patient may be asked to collect a urine sample over a four- to 24-hour period.
Treatment: The goals of treatment are to slow the progression of kidney damage and control the related
a) Tight Blood sugar control
b) Tight Blood pressure control
c) Cholesterol levels under control
d) Salt and protein restricted diet
e) Stop smoking and alcohol habits
f) Achieving optimum weight
g) Consumption of medications prescribed by your doctor regularly and correctly
Source: Priyanka tilak, Research Dept. of Diabetic Kidney Disease, M.V.Hospital for Diabetes & Prof. M.Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre
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