Diabetic Kidney Disease: What You Need To Know
Diabetic Kidney Disease (DKD) is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that is a common complication of diabetes. It is the leading cause of kidney failure in the United States, affecting nearly 30 percent of all people with diabetes. DKD occurs when your kidneys become damaged from high blood sugar levels over time, causing them to gradually lose their ability to filter waste from your body. If left untreated, this can lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
What Causes Diabetic Kidney Disease?
DKD is caused by long-term damage to the kidneys due to high blood sugar levels. Over time, the high glucose levels in the blood cause the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys to become damaged. This damage can lead to a decrease in the amount of waste that is filtered out of the body, and an increase in the amount of fluids and electrolytes that are retained. This can eventually lead to kidney failure and ESRD.
Who Is At Risk For Developing DKD?
Anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is at risk for developing DKD, but those with type 2 diabetes are at a much higher risk. People who have had diabetes for a long time (more than 10 years), as well as those who have uncontrolled blood sugar levels or poor glycemic control, are also at an increased risk. Additionally, people with high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease are more likely to develop DKD.
How Is DKD Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of DKD typically begins with a physical exam and medical history review by your doctor. Your doctor may also order additional tests, such as urine tests, blood tests, and imaging tests to look for signs of kidney damage. Your doctor may also check your blood pressure and ask about any family history of kidney disease.
How Is DKD Treated?
Treatment for DKD typically involves controlling your blood sugar levels with medication and lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. Additionally, your doctor may recommend medications such as ACE inhibitors or ARBs to help protect your kidneys from further damage. In some cases, dialysis may be necessary.
How Can You Prevent DKD?
The best way to prevent DKD is to keep your blood sugar levels under tight control. Eating a healthy diet that is low in fat and salt and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Exercise can also help to lower your blood sugar levels and improve your overall health. Additionally, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of developing complications from diabetes.
Diabetic Kidney Disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes. It is important to understand the risk factors for developing this condition so that you can take steps to prevent it. Keeping your blood sugar levels under control with medication and lifestyle changes is key to preventing DKD. If you have been diagnosed with DKD, talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.