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Diabetic nephropathy refers to diabetic kidney disease (nehpro=kidneys, pathy=disease). In 2011, diabetes caused nearly 44% of kidney failure cases. This makes diabetic kidney disease the number one complication of diabetes; one that is likely to affect almost every diabetic to some extent. In nearly half the cases of kidney disease, it could lead to kidney failure as well.
Diabetes and kidneys:
The kidneys filter nearly 200 quarts of our blood every day. Diabetes is a disease of excess sugar in our blood. Read these two sentences together and the link between diabetes and kidneys becomes obvious!
Every single day of our lives, the kidneys perform these functions:
Remove waste from our body (in the form of urine) retain whatever proteins, vitamins and other nutrients we can still usebalance the fluids in the bodyhelp maintain proper blood pressure by managing potassium and calcium levelskeep bones healthyhelp make red blood cells.
Diabetes damages the kidneys and the urinary system in three main ways:
Damage to blood vessels in the kidneys: too much sugar damages the filters in the kidneysdamage to nerves: fine nerves in the hands, feet, etc. Are corroded by the extra sugar in the blooddamage to the urinary tract: nerves run from our bladder to our brain and let us know when the bladder is full and we need to go. Damage to these nerves could mean we don’t react when our bladder is full. Result: extra pressure on the kidneys. Retained urine can also allow urinary tract infections to grow and migrate back to the kidneys.
Diabetes damage to blood vessels inside kidneys: The filtering units of the kidneys are called glomerules. They have tiny blood vessels that are easily clogged and damaged by excess sugar in our blood. Damage to these vessels also causes albumin, a kind of protein to leak via the urine. Ideally, albumin should be retained in the body. It is a condition called microalbuminuria in the early stages and albuminuria in the later stages.
Diabetes damage to nerves: Diabetes can also damage nerves everywhere in the body, a condition that is called diabetic neuropathy. When this happens in our hands and feet, we lose sensation there or begin to feel ‘pins and needles’. Nerves also convey messages from the brain to the urinary bladder and back. They inform the brain when our bladder is full. However, when these nerves are damaged by excess blood sugar, the brain does not realize when the bladder is full. The pressure from a full bladder can damage our kidneys over time.
Diabetes damage to urinary tract damage: When urine is retained in the bladder for long, the risk of bacterial infections increases. Bacteria also thrive on sugar, so diabetes increases infection risk. These infections usually stay limited to the urinary bladder. However, if they last for long, they may migrate to the kidneys and damage them too.
Consider all this in an organ that is working 24×7. Now you see why diabetic kidney failure is such a real danger for diabetics over the long term.
Diabetic kidney failure: early stages and symptoms
Diabetic kidney failure is a very real threat. It is a slow but relentless process that is divided into five stages of deterioration. The last stage called diabetic kidney failure or end stage renal disease (esrd)
The 5 stages leading to diabetic kidney failure are:
Stage 1: Kidney damage with normal gfr (90 or more). Gfr or glomuler filtration rate is the most widely accepted measure of kidney function. There are often no symptoms at this stage.
Stage 2: Kidney damage with mild decrease in gfr (60 to 89). Again, most patients feel no specific symptoms till this point.
Stage 3: Moderate decrease in gfr (30 to 59). At this stage, you may be losing too much protein, calcium and other nutrients. Some patients may feel breathless (due to loss of iron and anemia). Some puffiness and water retention could also be visible in the body. Urine may turn brown in colour. Some patients feel back pain too.
Stage 4: Severe reduction in gfr (15 to 29). All of the symptoms of stage 3 will are felt even more acutely now. Some blood may be seen in the urine. Breathlessness and swelling are usually quite severe. The stage at which you will need to finalize dialysis or kidney transplant options
Stage 5: Kidney failure (gfr less than 15). The kidneys give up at this stage. You will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Symptoms of kidney disease in diabetic patients
• Frequent urination, especially at night
• Blood or other dark discharge in the urine
• Swelling in the ankles
• Cramps in the calf muscles of the legs
• Feeling sick, feeling like throwing up, first thing in the morning
• Feeling weak, tired, breathless, looking pale
• Unexplained and consistent high blood pressure
• Unexplained urge to itch
• Lab tests: protein or albumin in the urine
• Lab tests: higher than normal levels of creatinine or bun in the blood
Diabetes and kidneys: how to protect yourself
First, you doctor needs to be sure that the underlying diabetes is the main cause of the kidney damage. Once this is done, the standard approach is to keep the kidneys working well for as long as possible. You doctor will likely add the hypertension-reducing medications called angiotensin converting enzyme (ace) inhibitors to your regimen. This is because ace inhibitors have been shown to help slow the loss of kidney function.
Here’s what diabetics can do to protect themselves from kidney damage:
• Control your blood sugar better. Don’t rely only on medications, but make changes to diet and lifestyle too. Many doctors endorse intermittent fasting to reverse diabetes today.
• Control high blood pressure. Take prescribed medicines on time. Daily moderate exercise and stress management techniques like meditation can help too.
• Watch out for and get timely treatment for urinary tract infections
• Don’t take medications like over-the-counter pain medications without telling your doctor. These may damage the kidneys, especially if you’re already at risk.
• Watch out for and take steps to prevent diabetic neuropathy. Damaged urinary tract nerves can lead to urinary retention and kidney damage. Some drugs like& metformin can contribute to diabetic nerve damage and supplements like vitamin b12 (as part of a good vitamin b complex) and alpha lipoic acid can help prevent this. Be aware and act soon.
• For people with diabetes, kidney screening once a year is mandatory. This can help to detect any protein or other substances that shouldn’t normally be in the urine.
• Use the right dietary supplements to protect your kidneys from diabetes damage.
Diabetic nephropathy: dietary supplements that help
Vitamin c (200mg- 1250mg per day)
Vitamin c is known to reduce excretion of urinary albumin. This suggests it may slow progression of diabetic nephropathy.
In a study published in the scientific journal nephron, researchers found that supplementation with vitamin c (also known as ascorbic acid or aa) reduced micro albumin loss in diabetic patients. The researchers concluded that “dietary supplementation of aa in diabetic subjects may have long-term benefits in attenuating the progression of diabetic complications”
Vitamin e (100iu-680iu per day)
Studies have found that vitamin e, when administered along with vitamin c, has the ability to reduce urinary albumin excretion. In the first study, published in the journal diabetes care, one groups was given just vitamin e and vitamin c. A second group received these and also the minerals magnesium and zinc. Both groups showed improved kidney function on lab parameters. In the second study, published in the diabetic medicine journal, type 2 diabetics took 1250mg of vitamin c plus 680 iu of vitamin e daily. In four weeks, their albumin excretion rate or aer was 19% lower compared to the placebo group.
Alpha lipoic acid (600mg per day).
Alpha lipoic acid (ala) is found in spinach, broccoli and potatoes and is a known anti-oxidant. A research study in 2001 set out to see if ala could help patients with diabetic kidney damage. The study group received 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid as a supplement. Another group received no supplement. The first group was able to maintain the same rate of urinary albumin loss, while the control group, saw their albumin loss worsen during the same period. Since alpha lipoic acid helps diabetics fight diabetic nerve damage too, it may well be a useful addition to all diabetics.
Everything we eat, including dietary supplements, has to be processed by the kidneys at some point of time. So do involve your doctor in your choice of dietary supplements if you have diabetic kidney disease.
Just remember: diabetic nephropathy or kidney damage is a result of the underlying diabetes. M. D. S are today saying that type 2 diabetes is reversible, through dietary and lifestyle changes. The better your control over the underlying blood sugar levels, the fewer the complications of diabetes. There are dietary supplements that are proven to help you improve blood sugar control, often without the side effects of prescription medications.
Hello sir or madam, I am wali 28 years of age and I continued try to improve my weight but it is not work my weight is 48 kg please advised me.
I have been feeling too weak from few days. Can you prescribe me medicine for that or any other cure?
High blood pressure is one of the most common lifestyle related disorders affecting people today. It can be defined as a systolic blood pressure reading higher than 140mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure reading that is higher than 90mmHg. A diagnosis of high blood pressure indicates that your heart needs to work harder to pump blood and nutrients through the body. If left unattended, this can lead to a number of cardiovascular problems including strokes.
Ayurveda is a form of treatment that does not only takes into account the symptoms shown, but also the lifestyle of a person for a while and hence is ideally suited to treating lifestyle diseases like this. Ayurvedic remedies are largely natural and have negligible side effects. Some of the most effective ayurvedic herbal remedies for high blood pressure are:
- Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is a well known Ayurvedic herb that helps lower blood pressure. It also strengthens the mind and body and thus, gives a person an increased ability to handle different types of stress. Stress is one of the most common triggers of high blood pressure and hence fighting stress and staying calm is crucial to treating high blood pressure.
- Triphala: As the name suggests, triphala is a combination of three herbs; amla, haritaki and bibhitake. It helps stabilise blood pressure levels and helps improve blood circulation through the body. Triphala also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the pressure against the walls of blood vessels and in turn, reduces blood pressure. By reducing cholesterol, it also prevents the thickening of arteries and allows blood to flow evenly.
- Jatamansi: This herb helps reduce high blood pressure by protecting the arteries from the effects of free radicals. This is helpful in reducing high blood pressure as once arteries are damaged; their repair makes them narrower and hence affects their ability to carry blood. It also helps calm the mind and fights against stress.
- Arjuna: This herb accelerates the turnover of low density lipoprotein that is found in live cholesterol. This prevents the oxidation of bad cholesterol and in turn, prevents the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. Arjuna also helps lower the production of stress hormones and prevents the hormones from damaging the inner lining of blood vessels.
In addition to the use of these herbs, weight management is essential in treating high blood pressure. This can be done through regular exercise and by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ayurveda.
My face skin has many small dark spots and the face looks like I had some illness No cheeks, cheeks are gone inside what to do to get good skin tone and cheeks also.
How to remove my dark circles under my eyes. They look so nasty. Please suggest me some medicine or other techniques to minimise my dark circles.
I'm suffering from eczema skin disease, red rashes on my entire body And also under treatment. What are the foods I should strictly avoid?
Hello doc. Usually I get periods regularly. From past 4 months. I am not getting my periods regular. I am not getting whether is it due to intercourse. Or my hypothyroid. Daily taking 62 mg. Have my tsh 3.6. please clear my doubts. Doctor.
How good you perform in bed depends not only in your moves, but strangely and incredibly on what you eat. A good sexual life is desired by all and if that is linked with food, it only makes the prospect attainable and easy.
Some of the foods which help you spice up your sex life are:
- Strawberries: The reputation of strawberries as an aphrodisiac is well known as well as well established. According to research, strawberry considerably improves sexual functioning in men and women. At the same time, it is rich in antioxidants and increases sperm count in men.
- Avocados: It is a common knowledge that anything that helps the functioning of heart and enhances blood circulation works as a great boost for the sex life. It is precisely this that makes Avocadoes a great option to improve your sex life. Being rich in vitamin E, they work wonders for the heart, thereby reducing the risk of an erectile dysfunction that most men suffering from heart diseases tend to develop.
- Almonds: It is common knowledge that almonds are good not only for your health, but also for spicing up your sex life. Being rich in selenium, almonds help in treating problems related to infertility. At the same time, they boost libido in men and increase the production of sex hormones in men.
- Sweet potatoes: Unknown to many, sweet potatoes are a great aphrodisiac. Packed with potassium, they help in preventing high blood pressure, thereby reducing chances of erectile dysfunction.
- Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds, a common ingredient in many of your food items, are packed with zinc. It is this that makes them an excellent source for boosting libido.
- Watermelon: This may top your list as a favorite fruit as it provides considerable relief in summer but what you may know is that along with low calories, it is high in phytonutrients, thereby helping in improving your sex life. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.