Effects of diabetes on kidney problems

August 22, 2019

Diabetes mellitus, more commonly known as diabetes, is a medical condition in which the body doesn’t produce sufficient insulin or cannot make proper use of normal amounts of insulin. The insulin hormone is responsible for regulating the amount of sugar in the blood. High levels of sugar in the blood can cause issues in different parts of the body.

Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are the most common types of diabetes. Usually occurring in children, Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile onset diabetes. With this condition, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. So, you will be required to take insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes is the more common one and it occurs among people aged more than 40. It is also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult onset diabetes mellitus. With this condition, the body doesn’t make proper use of insulin, which is produced at normal levels by the pancreas. High levels of blood sugar can be controlled through medications or by following an appropriate diet.

Impact of diabetes on kidneys

The small blood vessels in the body can get injured with diabetes. If this happens to the blood vessels in the kidneys, it cannot function properly. As a result, the kidney fails to clean the blood. The body starts retaining more salt and water than it ideally should. This can cause gaining of weight and swelling of the ankles. Protein will be present in your urine and there will also be a build-up of waste materials in your blood.

It is also possible for the nerves to be damaged because of diabetes. As a result, you will experience difficulties while emptying your bladder. The kidney can be injured when the pressure from the full bladder backs up. Furthermore, presence of urine in the bladder for longer periods of time can result in infections because of bacteria growth in urine having high sugar level.

Kidney issues are quite common among diabetic patients. Among patients having Type 1 diabetes, around 30% are likely to suffer from kidney failure eventually. The likeliness of kidney failure is 10%-40% among patients having Type 2 diabetes.

Signs of kidney problems among diabetic patients

It is always better if kidney problems are diagnosed early. Increased albumin excretion in the urine is an early sign of kidney disease due to diabetes. You should get this tested every year to be safe. Other indicators include swelling of ankles and weight gain. You may urinate more at night and your blood pressure may be too high.

If you have diabetes, you should get your blood and urine checked along with your blood pressure at least once every year. This will allow you to control the disease better and you can even treat kidney disease and high blood pressure as early as possible. If you keep the medical condition under control, you reduce the risk of a severe kidney disease being developed.

With the failure of kidneys, the level of creating in the blood and blood urea nitrogen levels end up rising. It will be accompanied with symptoms like nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, increased fatigue, anaemia, muscle cramps and itching.

Reducing the risk of kidney failure

In case of a kidney problem, your doctor will assess if diabetes has caused any injury to the kidney or not. Kidney damage can be caused by other diseases as well. Your kidneys function better if you manage to:

  • Control diabetes
  • Control high blood pressure
  • Get urinary tract infection treated
  • Treat any problem in the urinary system
  • Avoid medications that can possibly damage your kidneys