Everything You Need To Know About Diabetic Nephropathy And How To Be Safe
Everything You Need To Know About Diabetic Nephropathy And How To Be Safe

By Malla Reddy Narayana on 19 Mar, 2022

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Diabetic nephropathy, also known as diabetic kidney disease, is a complication produced by diabetes of both types i.e, 1 and 2 . Diabetic nephropathy affects approximately one in every three diabetics in the United States. Diabetic nephropathy impairs the kidneys’ capacity to perform their normal function of eliminating waste products and excess fluid from the body. The illness gradually deteriorates the kidneys’ ability to filter out waste from the blood. If detected early, the rate of progression of the disease can be reversed and hence the consequences.

This Renal disease can slowly degrade the kidneys to the point of kidney failure, which is often referred to as end-stage kidney disease which is a potentially fatal disorder, and the only way to treat that is a kidney transplant.

What are the causes of diabetic nephropathy?

As we already now understand, diabetic nephropathy is a common type 1 and types 2 diabetic consequence. Poorly controlled diabetes can cause damage to blood vessel clusters in the kidneys, which filter waste from the blood, over time. This can harm the kidneys and create excessive blood pressure.

Millions of small blood artery clusters (glomeruli) in the kidneys are responsible for filtering waste material from the blood. The high blood pressure caused due to diabetes increases the load on these delicate glomeruli and intern causes damage to these blood arteries which results in impairment in kidney function, and kidney failure.

What are the symptoms of diabetic nephropathy?

During the initial phase of diabetic kidney disease, one might show no symptoms but as the disease progresses, the signs and symptoms in the later stages may include:

– Blood pressure regulation is deteriorating.

– Urine containing protein

– Foot, ankle, hand, or eye swelling

– Urge to urinate more frequently

– Reduction in the requirement for insulin or diabetic medication

– Perplexity or trouble concentrating

– Shortness of breath 

– Shortness of breath 

– Vomiting and nausea

– Non-stop Itching 

– Fatigue

What are the risk factors for diabetic nephropathy?

Factors that can raise one’s risk of getting affected with diabetic nephropathy include the following:

– Uncontrolled blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia)

– High blood pressure that is uncontrolled (hypertension)

– Smoking

– High triglyceride levels

– Obesity

– History of diabetes and kidney complications in family

Treatment methods for diabetic nephropathy

The primary treatment of diabetic nephropathy begins with controlling the blood sugar levels and blood pressure. This involves modifications to one’s nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, and prescription drugs. One may be able to avoid or postpone renal dysfunction and other consequences if they keep the blood sugar and blood pressure under control.

Medications to handle the following conditions may be included in the treatment strategy in the initial phases of diabetic nephropathy:

Control of blood pressure: As we now understand that the increased blood pressure caused due to diabetes puts excess pressure over the nephrons, which takes a very serious turn in the long run, hence steps are taken to control the blood pressure. The most commonly used medicines include ARBs and ACE inhibitors

Diabetes Management: Medications can assist diabetic nephropathy patients to control their blood sugar levels. Metformin (Fortamet, Glumetza, and others) enhances insulin sensitivity while decreasing glucose synthesis in the liver. GLP-1 receptor agonists assist reduce blood glucose levels by delaying digestion and boosting insulin release when there is a rise in glucose levels. 

High Cholesterol:  Statins are cholesterol-lowering medications that are used to treat excessive cholesterol and lower the amount of protein present in the blood

If the complications reach the end-stage, the doctor will most likely discuss treatment choices aimed at either replacing kidney function relieving the immediate complications. The options of treatments constitute:

Dialysis:  This treatment clears the blood of waste products and excess fluid. here are two most prominently used types of dialysis which includes hemodialysis, which is the general treatment method where one needs to attend a dialysis center three times per week and be linked to a machine that acts as an artificial kidney, or one may have dialysis performed at home under a trained professional. Each session lasts between 3 and 5 hours. The second procedure known as peritoneal dialysis can also be done at home.

Kidney transplantation: This method involves replacing the defected kidney with a healthy one obtained from a healthy donor which might be deceased or alive. Note that one can live with one kidney without any problems

What can you do today to be safe!

Regular Screenings: It’s always recommended to go for a full body checkup periodically. As you now know that initial stages of the disease show no symptoms hence, its early detection through screening can be life-saving.

Maintaining Blood Sugar: Blood sugar is the key factor that leads to the development of diabetic nephropathy, hence keeping the blood sugar at a healthy level can make sure that one never gets near the clutches of this disease.

Keeping the blood pressure at check: High blood pressure over a prolonged period of time inflicts a lot of damage to the filtering mechanism of kidneys. Hence it’s very important to maintain the blood pressure at optimum levels.

Having a healthy weight: Maintaining weight at the prescribed limit goes a long way in saving one from getting in the grasp of the most critical of the diseases that exist and the same goes for diabetic nephropathy.

No Smoking: The smoke of cigarettes causes heavy damage to the kidneys and can worsen the damage caused to them in the case of diabetic nephropathy. Hence it is crucial to leave smoking as nothing good comes out of it

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