How to Prevent Kidney Disease When You Have Diabetes
Protect your kidneys – and your quality of life – by managing your blood sugar levels.
The kidneys remove waste from our bodies by filtering out waste products from the blood. They send useful substances like protein and red blood cells back into circulation and turn waste products into urine.
How does diabetes affect our kidneys?
High blood sugar levels increase the workload of the kidneys. Over time, it damages the blood vessels and filters inside the kidneys. This is called kidney disease, and it prevents the kidneys from functioning as effectively as they should. Protein – a valuable nutrient – slips through into the urine of a person with kidney disease. This is called proteinuria and should be tested for each year by your doctor.
In early stages, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is usually managed by diet and lifestyle changes and medications that may reduce proteinuria and slow progression to more advanced CKD. The most advanced stage of CKD is called End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Treatment of ESRD requires lifelong dialysis or kidney transplant.
How can I prevent kidney disease?
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, but not everyone with diabetes develops kidney disease.
Protect your kidneys by keeping blood sugars in the target range recommended by your doctor.
Reduce the risk of damage to your kidneys from hypertension by maintaining a healthy blood pressure as identified by your provider, often below 140/90.
In some cases, your doctor may want you to keep your blood pressure lower, below 130/80.
Both blood sugar and blood pressure are managed by diet/lifestyle changes and in most cases, in combination with medications. Discuss with your doctor the most appropriate management plan for you.
Pneumonia vaccination is recommended for anyone with diabetes two years of age or older. Pneumococcal disease is any type of infection caused by Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria. It’s common in young children, but older adults and people with diabetes are at greater risk of serious illness and death from the infection.
About 10,000 people die each year because of these bacterial infections. Pneumonia vaccination, however, is about 60 percent effective in preventing the most serious pneumonias, meningitis, bacteremia, and death. The pneumonia vaccine is a routine pediatric series recommended by the CDC to be given during the first year of life. For people with diabetes, a single booster vaccination is recommended between ages 19 and 64, and a two-dose booster series is recommended after age 65.