World Kidney Day 2022: Diabetes can damage your kidneys; watch out for warning signs

Published on Mar 09, 2022 06:28 PM IST

World Kidney Day 2022: Diabetes slowly damages your kidneys over the years, however, it is difficult to spot warning signs. Know about all diabetic kidney disease.

World Kidney Day 2022: What is diabetic kidney disease.(Pixabay)
World Kidney Day 2022: What is diabetic kidney disease.(Pixabay)

World Kidney Day 2022: If you have suffering from diabetes for long and not really managing your blood sugar levels well, you could be at a high risk of damaging your kidneys. Diabetes progressively impacts your kidneys and initially it is difficult to spot warning signs. It so happens that when blood sugar remains in the bloodstream for long, they slowly damage the blood vessels in your kidneys, thus making them difficult to perform their function of filtering out waste and extra water from your body. (Also read: Do you have diabetes? Follow these Ayurveda dos and don'ts)

There is a number of ways in which diabetes contribute to kidney damage from blood vessel becoming leaky, urine retention in bladder, to increase in bacteria growth. Sadly, there is no visible symptoms in case of early stages of diabetic kidney disease and only regular checkups can help detect any problem.

In diabetes, there are many mechanisms that contribute to kidney damage. Increased sugar levels block the glomeruli and they are narrowed. The blood flow thus is decreased and the kidneys are slowly damaged. Also, the blood vessels become leaky and there is loss of proteins in the urine. Diabetes damages the nerves that innervate the bladder due to which there is loss of sensation of fullness in the bladder which causes retention of urine and incresed back presssure on the kidneys. This also increases the risk of urinary infections," says Dr Aarti Ullal- Consultant, Endocrinology at Global Hospital, Parel, Mumbai.

Dr Ullal says the high sugar levels in the urine also allow bacteria to grow rapidly, causing recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) which also contributes to progressive damage of kidneys.

How to diagnose diabetic kidney disease in early stages

"A simple urine test called the Urine-Albumin Creatinine ratio (U-ACR) can detect the presence of protein (Albumin) in urine. Microalbuminuria (Alubumin in urine) is one of the first signs that can be picked up easily and treated. The glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) test determines the ability of kidneys to filter out the waste products," says Dr Ullal.

Symptoms of diabetic kidney disease in later stages

As the disease progresses, the symptoms start to become visible. A person may have swelling in feet and hand, frothy urine and fatigue.

"In the later stages, the person may experience swelling of ankles, feet and hands, frothy urine (due to the presence of albumin), blood in the urine (rare), shortness of breath, nausea, persistent fatigue among other symptoms," says the expert.

How long does it take for diabetes to cause kidney damage?

"In Type 1 diabetes, functional damage of the kidneys can start from 2-5 years of diagnosis and progression may take 10-30 years while in type 2 diabetes, kidneys can be affected at diagnosis, but progression can be similar to type 1 diabetics. Screening for Kidney Disease should be done yearly," says Dr Ullal.

How is kidney failure treated in diabetes patients?

"Kidney failure is treated with renal replacement therapy such as hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.

Renal Transplantation is another treatment option for end stage kidney disease," according to the doctor.

Healthy lifestyle changes to prevent kidney disease

* Healthy eating habits and eating small frequent meals is recomended. Include vegetables and lean protein in diet and reduce the consumption of sugary, oily and processed foods. Consume less salt as the high sodium content causes fluid retention.

* Quit smoking or chewing tobacco as they can worsen the kidney damage.

* Reduce the consumption of alcohol significantly to avoid any damage to the kidneys.

* Regular Exercise is vital. Moderate-intensity exercises for at least 20 minutes every day for atleast 5 days a week is recommended. Being active helps the body to utilise insulin and glucose better and improves blood sugar control.

* Maintain weight

* Control blood pressure and cholestrol to decrease the risk of kidney disease, heart disease and stroke. Take antihypertension and lipid medication regularly.

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