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How Diabetes Can Possibly Affect Your Kidneys?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Yogesh Kumar Chhabra 88% (36 ratings)
MBBS, MD - General Medicine, DM - Nephrology, DNB (Nephrology)
Nephrologist, Delhi  •  15 years experience
How Diabetes Can Possibly Affect Your Kidneys?

With the advancements in technology, you have gained more and more comforts for life and with that the incidence of lifestyle diseases to have increased. Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes, has affected an approximate 422 million people across the world, and is continuing to affect a large number of people every year.

Insulin is a vital hormone in the body which regulates the level of sugar in the blood, and when this level is elevated, it can lead to issues in various parts of the body. Diabetes is a disease that doesn't allow the body to produce enough insulin or optimize the use of insulin produced in the pancreas, and thus impairs several organs and decreases the quality of life adversely.

What are the effects of diabetes on the kidneys?

  • When a person has high blood sugar, the tiny blood vessels in the body are injured. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, the kidneys are not able to clean the toxins from the body properly. It results in the retention of water as well as salt in the body, which typically leads to weight gain and swelling in the ankles. Also, a person may have protein in the urine along with waste materials in the blood.
  • High blood sugar can also lead to nerve damage in the body, causing difficulty in releasing the contents of the bladder. The pressure exerted from the bladder may back up and cause harm to the kidneys. Also, when the urine remains in the bladder for an extended period, one may develop infections from the rapid growth of bacteria in the urine owing to high blood sugar level.
  • About 30 percent of people affected with Type 1 diabetes and around 10 to 40 percent of people with type 2 diabetes would eventually be affected by kidney damage.

What are the signs and symptoms of kidney damage due to diabetes?

  • The earliest symptom of kidney disease due to diabetes is a rise in an excretion of the protein known as albumin in the urine.
  • This increase in the protein is confirmed through various general tests. Therefore, it is essential to get these tests done on a yearly basis. In its early stages, it diabetes leads to weight gain and swelling in the ankles.
  • There is an increase in blood pressure, and it causes frequent urination, particularly at night. If you are affected by diabetes, you should get your blood, urine and blood pressure checked at least once in every year.
  • This can allow you to exercise better control of the disease and the early treatment of kidney disease. You should try to lower your blood sugar level to reduce the risk of severe kidney disorder.

In the advanced stage of kidney disease, the blood urea nitrogen will increase along with the level of creatinine in the blood. It will cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting, anemia, and muscle cramps. Your nephrologist will work with you and your dietician for reducing the blood sugar level and also keep the kidneys in working condition.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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