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Diabetes & nephropathy (kidney disease)

Diabetic nephropathy is damage to your kidneys caused by diabetes. Kidneys are made up of tiny filtering units called nephrons. Nephrons filter waste from the blood and maintain the salt-water balance. High blood sugar level can damage the nephrons and cause the kidneys to leak essential proteins (albumin) into the urine. Eventually the kidneys can stop working completely resulting in a condition called renal failure. For people with this condition, dialysis or renal transplant can be the only treatment options. About 30 percent of patients with Type 1 (juvenile onset) diabetes and 10 to 40 percent of those with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes eventually suffer from kidney failure.

Factors that can increase the risk of diabetic nephropathy include:

• Uncontrolled blood sugar level

• High blood pressure

• High cholesterol (bad cholesterol)

• Smoking

• Family History

Identifying kidney damage in its early stages is crucial. This is possible by performing the following tests:

• Microalbumin test to detect traces of albumin in the urine

• Serum creatinine test to measure the level of creatinine in the blood

• If the test is abnormal, your risk factors need to be reduced and further investigations have to be conducted

Most people may not experience any symptoms in the initial stages of diabetic nephropathy. As it worsens people may experience the below symptoms:

• Fatigue

• Loss of appetite

• Nausea or vomiting

• Breathlessness

• Bloody urine

• Swollen ankle & feet

Diabetic nephropathy is the single most common cause of chronic kidney failure requiring dialysis and kidney replacement. Following tips can help you prevent kidney failure:

• Take medicines as prescribed by the doctor

• Monitor your blood sugar levels

• Monitor your blood pressure

• Eat healthy food

• Regular physical activity at least for an hour

• Avoid alcohol and tobacco consumption

For more info: www.diabetacare.com

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Stories by ppujja M