Diabetic Nephropathy Risk Factors & Prevention
A diabetic has a higher risk of developing Diabetic Nephropathy. Dr. Ravi Bansal, Senior Consultant Nephrologist and Kidney Transplant Physician with PSRI Hospital in New Delhi creates awareness on diabetes and kidney disease. He talks about the risk factors and prevention tips to prevent diabetic nephropathy.
If you are a diabetic then you are at increased risk of developing kidney disease in case you have Genetic Susceptibility – genetic susceptibility may be an important determinant of both the incidence and severity of diabetic nephropathy.
Blood pressure – high and uncontrolled blood pressure increases the risk of developing nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy is more likely to develop in patients with lesser degrees of glucose control, particularly if the haemoglobin A1C concentration is above 11 percent.
Why are diabetics prone to kidney disease?
The human body has two kidneys. Inside each kidney are about one million tiny units called nephrons. Each nephron consists of a filter (glomerulus) made up of small blood vessels. Water that contains waste is separated from the blood by the filters and directed into the tubules.
Kidney disease is caused by damage to small blood vessels by high sugar levels. This damage can cause the vessels to become leaky or in some cases, to stop working, making the kidneys work less efficiently.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a known risk factor for kidney disease and people with diabetes are prone to hypertension. The renin-angiotensin system, which helps regulate blood pressure – is also thought to be involved in the development of diabetic nephropathy.
Diabetic nephropathy progresses steadily despite medical intervention. However, treatment can significantly slow the rate of damage.
Diabetic Nephropathy Prevention:
Diabetic nephropathy prevention with healthy blood sugar:
- Take your insulin or medications as prescribed by your doctor every day.
- Eat healthily and keep active.
- Test your blood sugar level regularly.
- Visit your health professional regularly.
- Have your urine tested for protein and a blood test to measure kidney function at least once a year.
Diabetic nephropathy prevention with healthy weight:
Being overweight is the cause of diabetes for many people. Weight loss can reduce the need for medications to control the diabetes. If the diabetes is better controlled you are less likely to get kidney disease. Steps to achieve a healthy weight are:
- Avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat.
- To lose weight you may benefit from joining a weight loss programme.
- Regular exercise
- Maintain a positive 'stay well' attitude, do things to relax and reduce stress in your daily life.