Living with diabetes is a daily challenge; managing blood sugars and preventing complications is hard enough without worrying about the rest of your body. However, diabetes affects more than just your blood sugar. It also affects the blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys over time.
The more you control your blood sugar and diabetes, the likelier you will avoid dangerous complications like chronic kidney disease. It's not always possible, though, to prevent any kidney damage, even with well-controlled diabetes.
If you're living with diabetes and concerned about long-term kidney health, the team at Metro Renal Associates in Washington, D.C., and Capitol Heights, Maryland, has the knowledge and tools to determine how your kidneys are working.
Three expert nephrologists make up our care team, each of whom has significant experience dealing with kidney disease related to diabetes.
How diabetes affects the kidneys
Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that happens when your body can't correctly control the glucose in your blood. When you eat, the body breaks down food into glucose, which fuels the body's cells.
To keep your glucose levels from rising too high, the pancreas secretes insulin, which helps push the glucose from the blood into the body's cells. The cells then use it for energy and other functions.
When living with diabetes, there's either an issue with insulin production in the pancreas or how your body uses the insulin it produces. Without insulin, glucose builds up in the blood, leading to chronically high blood sugar and other complications.
High blood sugar affects the nerves in the body and the small blood vessels, especially those in the kidneys. You may suffer from chronic kidney disease without the proper blood supply to the kidneys.
When the kidneys don't have the proper blood supply, they must work harder to filter out wastes and fluid. The complex work taxes the kidneys, eventually causing them to decline and fail without the proper treatment.
Tips to keep the kidneys healthy
According to the CDC, one in every three adults in the United States with diabetes also has chronic kidney disease. However, you don't have to follow that path if you take the proper steps.
Our team are experts in kidney health and provides the following tips to their diabetic patients to prevent kidney disease:
Manage blood sugar levels
Managing your blood sugar is one of the best ways to prevent kidney problems. High blood sugar levels for extended periods damage the blood vessels and nerves quicker than if you keep them under control.
Eat a healthy diet
Obesity related to diabetes is another risk factor for kidney problems. Eating a balanced diet helps you manage your weight, keeps the kidneys healthy, and allows you to manage blood sugar levels efficiently.
Stay physically active
Physical activity has numerous benefits, including keeping your weight in check, lowering blood pressure, and preventing kidney damage. Walking, biking, and swimming are great ways to have fun and stay in shape while keeping the kidneys healthy.
Keep track of your blood pressure
Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure, which is dangerous for the kidneys. If you're living with both problems, managing your blood pressure is vital to preventing a decline in kidney health. Take any prescribed medications as indicated and exercise to lower blood pressure and prevent kidney damage.
Everyone should always aim to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day for optimum health. The kidneys specifically benefit from adequate water intake because it flushes out any built-up toxins and sodium, lowering the risk of kidney disease.
Watch out for some OTC medications
Pain may be a real problem when living with diabetes. However, regularly taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs significantly damages the kidneys. If you're in pain, talk to our team about other beneficial and safe treatments for kidney health instead of NSAIDS.
If you smoke, it's also crucial that you quit to avoid kidney damage when you have diabetes. Get checked regularly for kidney function and health to identify any issues early on.
If you're concerned about kidney health, don't hesitate to call Metro Renal Associates today for an appointment or request a consultation using the online booking tool.