Diabetes and chronic kidney disease

Keep blood pressure and blood sugar under control to avoid chronic kidney disease.

A particular serious complication of diabetes is the development of chronic kidney disease. Diabetes causes injury to the small blood vessels in the body. If the small blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, it may result in the inability of the kidneys to clean blood properly.

Diabetes may also cause nerve damage in the body. With nerve damage it might be difficult to empty the bladder. Pressure from a full bladder might back up and injure the kidneys. If urine stays in the bladder for a long time, an infection might develop. A high sugar level in urine can lead to the growth of bacteria which in turn can cause infection.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, “about 30 percent of patients with Type 1 (juvenile onset) diabetes and 10 to 40 percent of those with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes eventually will suffer from kidney failure.”

Kidney failure is the gradual loss of the kidney’s to do their work, which is to filter waste and excess fluid from blood. When kidneys are working properly, this waste and fluid is flushed out of the system through urine. In advanced stages of kidney disease waste and dangerous amounts of fluid and electrolytes build up in the body.

In the early stages of kidney disease there may be no noticeable signs that there is a problem. Unfortunately, someone who is developing kidney disease may not realize that something is wrong until the kidney disease has reached the advanced stage.

People with diabetes can prevent kidney disease by controlling their blood sugar (glucose). Follow your doctor’s directions regarding diet and medications carefully. For those whose kidneys may already be affected, there are some things that can be done to prevent or slow the progression of the disease. If you have high blood pressure, be sure to take your medication as prescribed. High blood pressure is one of the major factors that predict which people with diabetes will develop serious kidney disease.

Treatment for chronic kidney disease is focused on slowing the development of damage to the kidneys. Kidney disease can be treated successfully if it is detected in the early stages. Your doctor will want to focus on the underlying cause of the kidney damage. For those with diabetes, monitoring blood sugar, following an eating plan outlined by your physician or certified diabetes educator, and taking medications as prescribed are important. If you have high blood pressure there are several medications that help keep blood pressure within a healthy range. Research has found that two types of medication, ACEi (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) provide protection to the kidneys.

Michigan State University Extension provides education in chronic disease prevention and management. To contact an expert in your area visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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