The Link Between Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease

Nurse getting blood of diabetic kid

Diabetes could result in many different health complications, which includes kidney issues. According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 100,000 individuals are diagnosed with kidney failure in the U.S. every year.

This happens when the kidneys become incapable of eliminating waste from the body and is the last stage of CKD or chronic kidney disease. Unfortunately, 44% of kidney failure cases in the U.S. is due to diabetes. And even if you have an excellent diabetes management plan in place, there’s still a chance that you can develop chronic kidney disease.

How Diabetes Can Cause Problems with The Kidneys

The link between kidney issues and diabetes starts when diabetes damages the body’s small blood vessels, which in turn prevents the body’s vital organs from working properly. Because of this, the kidneys fail to clean the blood effectively.

This leading to waste and protein buildup, as wells as water and salt retention. Diabetes could likewise damage the nerves, resulting in bladder issues. For instance, pressure from difficulty emptying the bladder could damage the kidneys and cause bladder infections.

In general, kidney issues associated with diabetes develop in a span of many years. Unbeknownst to the individuals who develop problems with their kidney, tiny amounts of blood albumin, blood protein, is already leaking into their urine.

The filtration function of the kidneys remains normal at this stage of chronic kidney disease. As the CKD progresses, however, more and more albumin will seep into the urine, causing the failure of the kidney’s filter function. An increase in blood pressure levels will also occur during this time.

Do note that it could take as much as 25 years for kidneys to fail completely.

Treating Kidney Problems

Chronic kidney disease management and treatment options include the following:

  • Hemodialysis – This utilizes an artificial kidney for cleaning the blood. A session usually lasts for approximately four hours and must be done thrice weekly.
  • Peritoneal Dialysis – This form of dialysis occurs inside the body. Different kinds of peritoneal dialysis are available, with the most common ones being continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis. Your doctor will be the one decide which form is best based on your specific circumstances.
  • Kidney Transplant – Some individuals might require a new functioning kidney from a compatible donor. However, a potential adverse effect of kidney transplantation is rejection of the receiver’s body. When this happens, the body will reject the new kidney and attack it. Individuals that have undergone kidney transplants will likewise have to take anti-rejection meds for the duration of their lives.

Preventing Kidney Problems

Nurse getting blood of elderly

If you have diabetes, you can follow these tips to help safeguard your kidneys:

  • Make sure to regulate your blood pressure levels.
  • Monitor and ensure that your blood sugar is always in check.
  • Obtain treatment for bladder or UTI infections as soon as possible.
  • Restrict your protein intake, as excessive protein in the body, is dangerous for people with chronic kidney disease.
  • Avoid medications that have been known to damage the kidneys. Always ask your doctor for advice.

While having diabetes increases your risk of developing kidney issues over time, managing your diabetes and visiting your doctor regularly will go a long way towards protecting your kidneys.