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What You Need to Know About Kidney Disease & Diabetes


Carefully managing your diabetes is important to your overall health. You can keep your blood glucose levels in check by following a regular testing schedule that your doctor recommends, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. These steps can help you prevent not only common diabetes symptoms like fatigue and blurred vision, but also more serious complications down the road, such as kidney disease.

People with diabetes are at a greater risk for developing kidney disease – in fact, diabetes is the most common cause of CKD (chronic kidney disease) and kidney failure in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 44 percent of new cases of kidney failure each year involve those with diabetes. Even though there’s a strong link between CKD and diabetes, there are steps people can take to help prevent or slow the development of kidney disease.

How Diabetes Affects the Kidneys

The kidneys work hard to filter your blood of waste that is left over from normal body processes, and to send that waste on to the bladder to get rid of it. These two, fist-sized organs located toward the middle of your back just under the rib cage sift through around 200 quarts of blood each day!

While filtering out waste, the kidneys also make sure beneficial substances, such as protein, remain in the bloodstream. However, having a large amount of sugar in the blood can damage the blood vessels that make up the kidney’s filters, allowing protein to escape into the bladder. Having a high concentration of protein in urine is one of the early signs of kidney disease.

Preventing Kidney Disease

Along with diabetes, other risk factors for kidney disease include genetics, poor blood sugar control and high blood pressure. Ultimately, the best way to avoid or slow kidney disease is to manage your diabetes. Other steps to take include the following:

  • Making sure your blood sugar levels are within the normal range
  • Managing your blood pressure
  • Avoiding excess weight gain
  • Working with your health care provider to test for any signs of kidney disease, such as checking for protein in the urine. This testing should take place on a regular basis.

*If you have any questions or concerns about kidney disease, talk to your health care provider.

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