Diabetic nephropathy is a common complication of diabetes that leads to kidney damage. This is a pertinent cause of chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal failure globally. This complex condition deteriorates the human body’s physical, mental, and emotional aspects. Though there is no cure for this disease, some steps can be taken to prevent it and protect your kidneys. We will discuss these steps and tips in detail further in this blog post.
How does diabetic nephropathy happen?
Diabetes occurs when the patient’s blood sugar levels rise dramatically, so much so that it harms multiple organs, including the nephrons (the filtering units within the kidneys). High blood sugar levels can cause nephron damage over time, leading to kidney damage and increased blood pressure. High blood pressure can further harm the kidney by increasing the pressure in its fragile filtering mechanism.
Some complications of this condition include:
- Fluid retention, resulting in arm and leg swelling, elevated blood pressure, or fluid in the lungs
- Proteinuria is a condition wherein large amounts of protein are found in urine. This happens when the kidney becomes damaged and cannot filter waste products properly from the blood.
- High potassium levels in the blood
- Cardiovascular diseases that further lead to stroke.
- Harm to the light-sensitive tissue’s blood vessels near the rear of the eye (retina)
- Decrease in red blood cells.
- Erectile dysfunction, foot sores, diarrhoea and other nerve-related damages.
- Shortness of breath can occur in severe cases of diabetic nephropathy.
- End-stage kidney disease, eventually leading to needing dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Bone weakening due to a disbalance of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
These are some of the most serious diabetes complications as it hampers the kidneys’ ability to remove extra fluid and waste products from the body. However, the onset and progression of this diabetic kidney disease can very well be prevented through certain strategies.
- Blood sugar management: Keeping the blood sugar levels within the target range might help prevent diabetic nephropathy. It is crucial to maintain a healthy level since high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and filters within the kidneys. Talk to your doctor about your target blood sugar levels and work with them to develop a management plan that works for you.
- Blood pressure management: If you suffer from high blood pressure, you might be at a high risk of diabetic nephropathy. Therefore, it is important to manage blood pressure levels regularly. High blood pressure can constrict and weaken the blood vessels, affecting the kidneys’ proper functioning ability.
- Follow a healthy diet: Maintain a healthy diet and consume as many fruits as possible. Add a variety of veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains to your daily diet plan. Limit processed food intake, high-sodium items, sugary drinks and high-fat foods. Consult and work with a good dietitian to develop a balanced diet.
- Lifestyle changes: To prevent diabetic nephropathy, it is very important to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that keep the kidneys strong and help treat diabetes as well. Start exercising for at least 10 mins a day and gradually move up to 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity activity that may include walking, jogging, cycling or strength training. Exercising helps lower blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is the root cause of many diseases and disrupts healing. So it is necessary that you quit smoking.
- Regular check-ups and taking prescribed medications: It is crucial to take medicines your doctor prescribes on time for treating diabetes. Any lackadaisical attitude towards taking medicines can cause complications. These medications usually help you maintain optimum blood pressure and cholesterol levels and help keep a check on blood sugar levels. Don’t forget to follow up with your doctor on the dosage and go for regular checkups, as these might help you identify early signs of diabetic kidney disease.
If one suffers from Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, one must focus on keeping your kidneys healthy. Some useful tips for doing so are
- Maintain optimal range of Blood Sugar level.
- Monitor and control your blood pressure via proper medication and a healthy lifestyle.
- Pay attention to what you eat and watch your diet carefully.
- Take prescribed medicines regularly.
- Do not take stress; it can increase blood pressure and blood glucose levels. In case of stress, practice meditation and deep breathing, yoga and listening to your favourite song, whatever gives you peace.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert nephrology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Recently, there has been a huge progress in understanding the risks and complications associated with Diabetes. One of them is a serious kidney condition called Diabetic Nephropathy. Though not curable, this condition can be prevented by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, optimum blood pressure and cholesterol levels, taking prescribed medicines on time and maintaining a healthy lifestyle by quitting smoking and adopting a balanced diet tailored to your needs. Stay in touch with your healthcare provider to understand and work up a holistic lifestyle and avoid these chronic conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How is diabetic nephropathy prevented?
A: The treatment of established risk factors for diabetic nephropathies, such as hypertension, hyperglycemia, smoking, and dyslipidemia, is the foundation for prevention. There are also risk factors for cardiovascular disease that must be vigorously addressed.
Q: What are the strategies for diabetes?
A: If you are at risk of diabetes, preventing it becomes crucial. Here are some strategies to do so:
- Lose weight Follow a healthy balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Quit smoking
- Prevent sugar-based foods
- Drink plenty of water
- Reduce your (certain type of) carbohydrate intake
Q: Is there a cure for diabetic nephropathy?
A: There is no cure for diabetic nephropathy. However, treatments can slow or stop the disease’s progression. Treatments include drugs and lifestyle adjustments to keep blood sugar and blood pressure levels within their goal ranges.
Q: Can you prevent diabetic neuropathy?
A: High blood sugar levels cause diabetic neuropathy. One can avoid this medical condition or limit its progression by keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Blood sugar control is a critical component of your diabetes treatment approach.
Q: What causes diabetic nephropathy?
A: Diabetic nephropathy is a common consequence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Poorly controlled diabetes can damage blood vessel clusters in your kidneys that filter waste from your blood over time. This can harm the kidneys and create excessive blood pressure.