Diabetic Nephropathy: Impact of Diabetes on Kidneys

Diabetic Nephropathy aka Diabetic Kidney Disease is a condition that may develop in type-1 and type-2 diabetic patients. Diabetes affects the kidneys eventually leading to this complication in 1 out of 4 diabetic patients. The disorder goes on to affect the functioning of the kidneys and the system loses its ability to clear out waste products from the body and purify the blood. This leads to an abnormal increase in the body’s water and electrolyte levels, resulting in possible weight gain and ankle swelling along with accumulation of waste products in the blood and protein in the urine as well. This condition may worsen through the years damaging the urinary system leading to kidney failure, which can be managed with proper treatment.

Few warning symptoms to keep in check include fluctuation in BP, ankles and eyes swelling, loss of appetite, nausea, exhaustion etc. Most diabetic patients do not show symptoms to indicate kidney disease and hence an annual urine test is recommended as a safety measure. The test helps detect kidney damage at an early stage and proceed with prescribed therapy. Kidney disease reversibility has been made possible in type-1 diabetic patients with early detection and controlling blood sugar levels appropriately.

Measures to prevent or slow down kidney disease include treating your diabetes, keeping your blood pressure in check, maintaining body weight, avoiding excess smoking and alcohol intake.

What to Avoid?

  • Excess Smoking & Drinking: These habits increase your chances of developing kidney disease. They are major risk factors. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you in keeping glucose levels and BP in check and in turn keeping your kidneys healthy. These habits affect the functioning of kidneys to purify blood and will increase your risk of developing diabetic nephropathy.
  • Follow a diet plan: Not having or adhering to diabetic diet plans will meddle with blood sugar levels. The diet should not contain high levels of sugar and calories. It is advised to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains along with protein like chicken and fish.
  • Consuming food with high salt content: It will increase salt accumulation in the body. It is advisable to not consume extra salt in order to control blood pressure and prevent kidney damage.  Stick to a low-fat and low-protein diet. Avoid salty foods and sweets like candy, pastries, condiments, canned foods, table salt, nuts, etc.
  • Exercise Regularly: Not staying physically active will increase fatigue. At least 30 minutes of exercise in your daily routine is advised for diabetic patients to maintain healthy kidneys. Exercises like yoga, running, brisk walking, swimming, cycling, etc can help in maintaining your blood pressure and keep blood glucose levels in an optimal range.
  • Follow your medication: Take the medicine as prescribed as deviations may prove to be damaging. Medications prescribed by your doctor can help you in maintaining blood glucose levels and blood pressure.

Author is a Nephrologist of Apollo Dialysis Clinics. Currently Apollo Dialysis Clinics operates 70+ clinics at 60+ locations in Delhi-NCR (Gurgaon), Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The company has also recently launched Home Dialysis Services in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Guwahati.

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