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Understanding the Connection Between Diabetes and Kidney Disease

It's November, and that means it's Diabetes Month – a time to chat about diabetes and its impact on millions of people worldwide. You've probably heard about diabetes, a condition that messes with your sugar levels, but did you know there's a hidden connection between diabetes and kidney disease? In this blog post, we're going to dive into that link, emphasizing why it's essential to spot it early and manage it effectively.

The Diabetes-Kidney Disease Duo

Often, diabetes and kidney disease go hand in hand. Ever heard of diabetic nephropathy? It's a fancy term for kidney disease that comes from diabetes. What happens is high blood sugar levels can damage the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys, making them struggle to filter waste and extra fluids from your blood. In simple terms, your kidneys are affected, and it's a leading cause of kidney failure.

Studies have shown that up to 40% of people with Type 1 diabetes and approximately 20-40% of those with Type 2 diabetes may develop diabetic nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy is a leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), also known as kidney failure. In the United States, for example, diabetes is the primary cause of ESRD in approximately 44% of cases.

That’s the primary reason we supported a bill this year in the Oregon Legislature that would have expanded coverage for continuous glucose monitoring.

Diabetes often brings along high blood pressure as an unwelcome guest. This high blood pressure can harm those delicate kidney filters, leading to problems like protein in your urine and a drop in kidney function. Approximately 1 in 3 adults with diabetes has hypertension.

One tricky thing about kidney disease from diabetes is that it often sneaks up on you. In the early stages, there might not be any signs. That's why it's super important to stay on top of regular check-ups and keep an eye on your kidney function.

Preventing kidney problems is a top priority when you have diabetes. Here are a few ways you can reduce your risk and manage it well:

  • Sugar Control: Keep those blood sugar levels in check! Work with your healthcare team to manage your diabetes effectively.

  • Blood Pressure: Often you can tackle high blood pressure through lifestyle changes and medications. We're talking about eating right, moving around, and maybe taking a pill or two. Always check with your doctor before taking any medication or starting a new exercise regimen, but aiming for a blood pressure of 130/80 mm Hg or lower is often a good goal for most people with diabetes.

  • Healthy Living: A balanced diet, some regular exercise, and keeping a healthy weight are essential. They help you manage diabetes and lower the chances of kidney disease creeping in.

  • Regular Check-ups: Get those check-ups scheduled! Blood and urine tests can keep an eye on your kidney function, and early detection is your secret weapon in this fight.

As we recognize Diabetes Month this November, it’s also important that we chat about kidney disease. By understanding the connection and taking action, you can seriously lower your risk of kidney troubles. As we embrace November as Diabetes Month, let's spread the word about diabetes and its potential side effects, including kidney issues, and help everyone affected by this condition live healthier lives.


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