Diabetic Nephropathy : Diabetes’ Effect on the Kidneys
High blood sugar affects almost every organ in your body, but the kidneys are perhaps the most susceptible. The kidney has a delicate filtering system comprising many small blood vessel clusters. The function of these clusters is to filter waste from your body. If blood glucose is not managed, over time, it damages these blood vessels, negatively impacting their functioning and damaging the kidney.
This in itself is bad; what’s worse is that it increases blood pressure too. High blood pressure, in turn, further increases pressure on the kidneys’ filtering system. Left unchecked this will surely result in kidney failure. This is a life-threatening condition and dialysis or kidney transplant are the only treatment choices.
However, this is not inevitable. Through a proper diet-nutrition-stress control routine, even very highly diabetic patients can bring their counts back to normal and save themselves from kidney damage. Besides reversing diabetes, Freedom from Diabetes has many patients with kidney issues whose creatinine levels got under control with the treatment of diabetic nephropathy, at FFD, and many who are saved from going for dialysis.
Diabetic Nephropathy Symptoms
Like diabetes itself, kidney disease caused by diabetes—or diabetic nephropathy, to give it its clinical name—is almost asymptomatic. As damage progresses, however, the following signs can be experienced:
- Erratic or hard-to-regulate BP
- Water retention (and swelling) in feet, hands, and around the eyes
- Increased frequency of urination
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Disorientation or difficulty in concentrating
- Shortness of breath
- Appetite loss
- Nausea, puking
If you experience any of the above or are suffering from diabetes, it is recommended that you have regular checks, with tests for kidney function, and consultations with your doctor.
Complications resulting from diabetic nephropathy
Over time, sufferers may experience a variety of problems from fluid retention to erectile dysfunction. If any of the below diabetic nephropathy symptoms are seen, it is critical to get immediate medical attention in order to avoid irreversible kidney damage.
These diabetic nephropathy complications include:
- Fluid retention (pulmonary oedema)
- Itching is caused by high potassium levels in your blood (hyperkalemia)
- Cardio problems—these can lead directly to stroke
- Vision problems, caused by damage to the tissues at the back of the eye
- Low oxygen levels, or anemia, brought on by the reduction in RBC
- Foot sores, erectile dysfunction, diarrhea, etc. These relate to damage to nerves and blood vessels.
What are the main risk factors of kidney disease?
Diabetes itself brings a number of risks that can increase your chances of suffering from diabetic nephropathy, these include:
- Sustained high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
- High BP
- High cholesterol
- Genetic factors
How can diabetics protect their kidneys?
Diabetics can reduce their risk of kidney problems by ensuring their blood sugar is under control. Regular checkups and screenings by medical professionals will monitor your diabetes care and check for signs of nephropathy and other problems.
It is also vital to manage blood pressure as this by itself is a huge factor in kidney damage Avoid self-medication. Many over-the-counter drugs, including pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines, can lead to kidney damage. Follow your doctor’s directions and avoid taking medicines without prescription’
Smoking is another huge risk factor. Cutting smoking is the single best action you can take for your health. Smoking damages kidneys and aggravates existing damage. Talk to your doctor for help in kicking the butt.
Diabetics are hugely at risk of kidney damage. But proper monitoring and a corrective lifestyle can help keep kidney problems at bay. For more information about how you can get your diabetes under control, and even reverse it completely, check out our Facebook and Youtube channels, or better yet, sign up for our Diabetes Reversal online programs.