March is National Kidney Month
March is National Kidney Month to raise awareness of chronic kidney disease. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), diabetes is the number one leading cause of chronic kidney disease and is called diabetic kidney disease (DKD), kidney disease of diabetes or diabetic nephropathy.
Diabetic Kidney Disease is a Chronic “Silent Disease”
Diabetic kidney disease, like chronic kidney disease, is mainly a “silent disease,” showing no symptoms, while slowly damaging and destroying the kidneys. Even though there is no cure for it, treatment can be effective in controlling it and preventing it from progressing to kidney failure.
Testing for Diabetic Kidney Disease (DKD)
The only way DKD can be detected is by simple blood and urine tests.
The NDDK recommends getting tested every year for diabetic kidney disease if you have type 2 diabetes or have had type 1 diabetes for more than five years.
How Diabetes Causes Kidney Disease
High Blood Levels of Glucose (sugar)
High blood levels of glucose (sugar) can damage blood vessels in the kidneys. This kidney damage causes the kidneys to gradually lose the ability to filter the blood supply. As a result, certain wastes that should have been eliminated by the kidneys begin to build up in the kidneys.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, which is also very common to people with diabetes, also damages the kidneys. This can become a vicious cycle because damaged kidneys in turn can also cause high blood pressure.
Other Risk Factors for Developing Diabetic Kidney Disease (DKD)
- Eating too much salty food
- Not sticking to your diabetes eating plan
- Not being physically active
- Overweight or obese
- Heart disease
- Family history of kidney failure
Managing Diabetic Kidney Disease
The main way to manage DKD is to get your blood glucose and your blood pressure under control. Follow your doctor’s advice. Your doctor may recommend blood pressure lowering drugs. Two types of these drugs to lower blood pressure (ACE inhibitors and ARBs) actually help to slow down the damage to the kidneys. High blood pressure, like diabetic kidney disease, is also a “silent” disease that does not produce any real tangible symptoms. This silent duo can only be detected by blood and urine tests for DKD and by measuring your blood pressure. It is highly recommended to purchase a blood pressure monitor that you can use at home to measure your own blood pressure on a daily basis.
Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
Following a healthy lifestyle can also help you to manage glucose levels and high blood pressure.
- Quit smoking
- Make sure to drink enough pure fresh water every day and avoid getting dehydrated.
- Cut down or quit drinking alcoholic beverages, as alcohol raises blood pressure and strong alcoholic drinks are kidney irritants, especially if you drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
- Cut down on coffee, as it raises blood pressure.
- Follow a healthy diet and limit salt (sodium) and also avoid salty foods, especially processed meat.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Become more physically active on a daily basis.
- Make sure to get a good night’s sleep 7-8 hours.
- Learn to manage stress, as stress can raise blood pressure and glucose. See what works best for you, whether it is listening to music, yoga exercises, being close to nature, singing, dancing, praying, getting involved with a hobby or just puttering around. See what it takes to get yourself relaxed.
Short-term Rehabilitation or Long-term Skilled Nursing Care
If you or your loved one are in need of rehabilitation or skilled nursing care, make sure to choose a facility that specializes in diabetes monitoring and care like the Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township, New Jersey. Royal Suites is a 5-star facility located in a beautiful area surrounded by eight acres of woods and landscaped gardens. Royal Suites has a high ratio of staff per resident, so you or your loved one will get the best of care.
It certainly pays to do all that is necessary to keep your kidneys in good health, so that you will not have to face the ordeal of kidney failure, which needs to be treated by dialysis or a kidney transplant.