Diabetes isn’t just a major cause of kidney disease in American adults — it’s the leading cause. That means if you have diabetes, you need to do all you can to protect your kidneys and monitor their health.
As part of our comprehensive kidney care program, the team at Houston Kidney Specialists Center uses advanced techniques to diagnose kidney problems in their early stages, along with education to help patients keep their kidneys healthy. If you have diabetes, here’s what the team wants you to know about your kidney health.
Most people know their kidneys help remove excess fluid from the body. But kidneys do a lot more than that. They work to filter toxins and impurities from your blood, expelling those wastes through your urine. They also help maintain a healthy balance of important minerals, such as calcium and potassium, in your bloodstream.
Each kidney contains many clusters of tiny blood vessels that act as filters. Over time, high glucose levels can damage these tiny vessels and impair their ability to filter your blood and remove wastes and excess fluids.
For many people with diabetes, kidney damage occurs for years before any symptoms are noticed. That’s why it’s so important to have your kidney function tested on a regular basis if you have diabetes.
While kidney disease is a relatively common complication of diabetes, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing kidney disease and provide your kidneys with the support they need to stay healthy.
This may sound simple, but it can actually be pretty challenging for many people. The key here is to monitor your glucose, take your insulin as required, and watch your diet. Regular office visits with lab work also play an essential role in keeping your kidneys healthy and functional.
You won’t necessarily be able to eliminate all your stress. However, keeping stress at manageable levels can help reduce excess strain on those tiny blood vessels. Plus, it can help keep your stress hormones in check.
The National INstitutes of Health calls obesity a “potent risk factor” for developing chronic kidney disease. Plus, being even a little overweight can make it a lot harder to keep your glucose levels in check.
Limiting your intake of all types of sugars is important for managing glucose. But, it’s also important to keep an eye on your intake of sodium, fats, and proteins, too. You might find it worthwhile to consult with a nutritionist who specializes in patients with diabetes.
High blood pressure can also damage your kidneys (and other organs, too). The good news is if you pay attention to the other items on this list, your blood pressure could be naturally reduced. If you use blood pressure medicine, be sure to take it as often as directed.
Kidney function typically can be monitored using urine tests. Our doctors may recommend blood tests, ultrasound, or biopsies for more complex problems or to diagnose or rule out some types of kidney problems. Getting tested as often as your doctor recommends is vitally important for diagnosing kidney disease in its very early stages.
Houston Kidney Specialists Center, with four locations in Houston and Cypress, Texas, provides state-of-the-art kidney care for patients with diabetes, including cutting-edge treatments aimed at slowing the disease and improving overall health. If you have diabetes, book an appointment online or over the phone today.