Diabetes, also known as high blood sugar has become a common disease these days. This disease cannot be cured but with preventive measures like controlled diet and regular exercise, you can control the blood sugar level. If not controlled, diabetes can affect other body functions. Kidneys, the filters of our body are one to suffer the most.
What Causes Diabetes?
A hormone called insulin controls blood sugar levels in our body. When the body is unable to generate enough insulin or cannot utilize the insulin generated by the body, sugar levels in blood shoots up. High sugar levels in your blood can affect the functions of various body parts like heart, kidneys, eyes, and brain. Chronic kidney disease and kidney failure are dangerous side effects of diabetes. There are two types of diabetes.
Type 1: This is generally seen in young people whose bodies are unable to produce enough insulin.
Type 2: This is common in adults over 40 years. This has a connection with obesity and some may inherit it from the family as well. In this type, the body produces insulin but fails to utilize it properly.
How does Diabetes Affect Kidneys?
High blood sugar damages small blood vessels in the body. The kidneys’ main function is to clean your blood. With diabetes damaging its blood vessels, the kidney cannot perform its task with efficiency. This leads to excessive water and salt retention in the body which leads to weight gain and ankle swelling. Protein in urine is another side effect. If the situation persists, waste materials are built up in the blood. Another major side effect of diabetes is damaged nerves. It makes emptying the bladder difficult for the body. Full bladder creates pressure that injures the kidneys. A person can develop an infection if urine remains in the bladder for a long time. Generally, urine with a high sugar level encourages the growth of bacteria which can cause infection.
How Many Years does Diabetes Take to Damage Kidneys?
Functional change in the kidneys is observed within a span of two to five years in patients with Type 1 diabetes. Out of them, 30 to 40% develop a serious illness related to kidneys. The time diabetes takes to damage kidneys is 10 to 30 years for Type 1 diabetes patients.
Type 2 diabetes generally occurs at an older age. If not controlled, it similarly takes 10 to 30 years to damage kidneys irreparably.
Most patients do not have symptoms during the early stage of kidney damage. If you have diabetes, it is advisable to undergo a urine test at least once a year. If there is a protein named albuminuria in the urine even in the small amount, the test can detect it and indicate the early stage of kidney damage. Bear in mind that it is not necessary that kidney disease leads to kidney failure. If you receive the right treatment at the right time, you can control kidney disease from worsening.
How Can I Stop Diabetes From Damaging My Kidneys?
Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, you have to be very careful with your eating habits and lifestyle. Healthcare providers create a treatment plan for patients after checking the condition. If you do not want to take risk, you can contact a Nephrologist (Kidney Doctor) at the earliest. A dietician can also prove to be of great help. You yourself can take some preventive measures to help your kidneys work better.
Sincerely try to control blood sugar:
Controlling blood sugar is the best way to prevent or slow down damage to the kidneys. There are various ways of doing it like following a strict diet, exercising, or if needed taking insulin or hypoglycemic pills to lower sugar levels.
Keep an eye on high blood pressure:
High blood pressure is the second most common reason for kidney failure. Follow the doctor’s instructions to keep your blood pressure in control.
Take prescribed medicines:
One should only stick to the medicine given by your regular physician and do not change medication unless advised by the doctor. Overuse of medication or self-medication without guidance can cause damage to vital organs such as Kidneys & liver. It is advised that one should not opt for self-medication.
Limit your protein intake:
Protein is vital for maintaining good health. However, diabetics with kidney problems should avoid over intake of protein. As per research, eating less protein can help slow down kidney damage. An expert dietician can help you with a low- protein diet. It is important to take advice from an expert before making changes to your diet.
Do not overlook the symptoms:
Early detection means better chances of recovery. Especially in the case of urinary tract infection, early treatment is important. If you feel an urge to urinate frequently or feel burning sensation or pain while urinating you should meet your doctor. Cloudy or blood-spotter urine and a strong odor in urine also indicate kidney disease.
Eat less salt:
This is important for controlling high blood pressure and reducing body swelling.
Consult a doctor before taking painkillers:
Do not consume medicines especially NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen without doctors advice. It can damage the kidneys.
Keep cholesterol levels in check:
Controlled cholesterol level will prevent further damage to larger blood vessels of the heart and brain, increasing the body’s capacity to stay on the top of health.