Keeping the World Safe From Chronic Kidney Disease

Your kidneys are located just below your rib cage, one on each side of the spine. Every day, they filter waste and extra fluid from about 120 to 150 quarts of blood, which is passed into the urine. For people with diabetes, the excess sugar in their blood damages the kidneys ability to filter the waste.  The waste then builds up in your blood, making you sick.

What signs and symptoms should I look out for?

Kidney disease occurs very slowly, so there may not be early symptoms. Farther along, signs may include:

  • Feeling itchy or numb
  • Buildup of waste products can cause fatigue, weakness and/or nausea
  • Increased or decreased urination
  • Headaches
  • Weight loss

If you have diabetes, you should talk to your doctor about getting your urine checked for albumin once a year.  Albumin is a blood protein and a high level in your urine can indicate kidney disease.

The good news is that with careful monitoring, medications and lifestyle changes kidney disease can be managed. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some of those lifestyle changes include:

  • If you smoke, take steps to quit
  • Try to become more active and lose weight if necessary
  • If you have diabetes, work on managing your blood glucose levels
  • Keeping your blood pressure and blood cholesterol at the target levels set by your health care provider
  • It is also recommended that people with diabetes take a small daily dose of blood pressure medications to protect the kidney from the long term of effects of the disease

Diabetes and Your Kidneys

There’s a reason why people have referred to diabetes as a multi organ disease. Besides affecting the pancreas, if mismanaged diabetes can affect many other organs such as the eyes and nerves.

Diabetes raises the risk factor for a number of conditions and one of the most serious of these is kidney disease. In fact, in 2011 diabetes was listed as the primary cause of kidney failure in 44 percent of all new cases1.  But what does diabetes have to do with the kidneys?

What is End Stage Renal Disease?

If kidney disease gets worse over time it can lead to kidney failure, which means you have less than 15 percent normal kidney function. This leads to the build-up of waste products and extra water in your body. End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is kidney failure that needs to be treated either by dialysis or kidney transplantation. But there is good news: with proper care and lifestyle changes, fewer than 10 percent of people with diabetes develop kidney failure.

  1. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/ Accessed 1/27/2017
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