Diabetes – Protect Your Kidneys

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Diabetes – Protect Your Kidneys

What Do My Kidneys Do?

The kidneys are two organs located just below your rib cage, one on each side of your spine.  They are about the size of a fist and bean-shaped. Your kidneys filter about 120-150 quarts of blood every day and excrete the toxins they filter out of the blood as urine.

Hoes Does My Diabetes Impact My Kidneys?

Too much glucose (a form of sugar) in the blood impedes the kidney’s filtering ability.  In fact, not only does it impede it, but it also damages it.  This damage causes the kidneys to filter less effectively, leaving more toxins in the blood that passes through them.  This toxin build up can lead to sickness and cause a variety of issues with the body.

The impact the glucose has on the kidneys is so significant that diabetes is actually the leading cause of kidney disease at this time.

What Does High Blood Pressure Do to the Body?

Blood pressure is essentially the amount of force of the blood flow as it travels through your blood vessels.  The two numbers symbolizing blood pressure represent systolic (pressure as the heart beats) and diastolic (pressure between heart beats as the blood vessels relax).

When blood pressure is higher, it forces your heart to exert itself more in order to pump blood through the body.  High blood pressure can increase the risk of not only kidney problems, but stroke, heart attack, eye issues, and damage to various parts of the body.  High blood pressure can be a cause of kidney disease as well as a result of kidney disease.

How Can I Protect My Kidneys?

Some of the things you can do to keep your kidneys in good health are:

  • Eat healthy and follow your doctor’s (or dietitian’s) recommended meal plan.
  • Do your best to keep your blood glucose levels in check (as close to your target as you are able to). Your doctor can work with you to teach you what to do if your numbers start to get too high or too low.
  • Take tests for detecting kidney disease at least once a year, including tests such as:
    • eGFR
    • Blood pressure
    • Creatinine and albumin measurements
    • Any other tests recommended by your doctor
  • If you smoke, find a way to quit. Your doctor has a variety of medications available to assist you and can also most likely recommend you to support groups or other forms of counseling to assist you.
  • Avoid taking painkillers frequently. Daily use of various painkillers can damage the kidneys.  If you require pain medication for health conditions such as arthritis, talk to your doctor about your medication to see if there are alternatives you can take that will not harm your kidneys.
  • If you have any kidney or bladder infections, see your doctor immediately. Symptoms of these infections include:
    • Pain on your side below your ribs or in your back
    • Shaky feeling
    • Burning or discomfort when you urinate
    • Having to urinate frequently or an urge to urinate frequently
    • Fever
    • Dark colored, red, or cloudy urine


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