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Diabetes and Kidney Disease

How does diabetes cause kidney disease?

When our bodies digest the protein we eat, the process creates waste products. In the kidneys, millions of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) with even tinier holes in them act as filters. As blood flows through the blood vessels, small molecules such as waste products squeeze through the holes. These waste products become part of the urine. Useful substances, such as protein and red blood cells, are too big to pass through the holes in the filter and stay in the blood.

Diabetes can damage this system. High levels of blood sugar make the kidneys filter too much blood. All this extra work is hard on the filters. After many years, they start to leak. Useful protein is lost in the urine. Having small amounts of protein in the urine is called microalbuminuria.

When kidney disease is diagnosed early, (during microalbuminuria), several treatments may keep kidney disease from getting worse. Having larger amounts is called macroalbuminuria. When kidney disease is caught later (during macroalbuminuria), end-stage renal disease, or ESRD, usually follows.

In time, the stress of overwork causes the kidneys to lose their filtering ability. Waste products then start to build up in the blood. Finally, the kidneys fail. This failure, ESRD, is very serious. A person with ESRD needs to have a kidney transplant or to have the blood filtered by machine (dialysis).

Kidney Disease Prevention

Diabetic kidney disease can be prevented by keeping blood sugar in your target range. Research has shown that tight blood sugar control reduces the risk of microalbuminuria by one third. You can read about glucose meters and monitoring your blood sugar, to the right. In people who already had microalbuminuria, the risk of progressing to macroalbuminuria was cut in half. Other studies have suggested that tight control can reverse microalbuminuria.

Additionally, it has been shown that monitoring your vitamin intake can significantly hinder the development of kidney disease. Vitamins C and E and well as an assortment of minerals play an important part in affecting the development of kidney disease as well as eye problems. There has been extensive research conducted showing the positive effects of taking supplementary vitamins. You can find a great article on the effects of vitamin C and E here. Furthermore, you can find an extensive list of vitamins and other supplements here.

In any case, vitamins can very much determine the progression of severe complications, so it is absolutely important to monitor your intake. If you are interested in finding an effective program, as well as a free profile assessing the vitamins you need, I would check out Medifast’s service. I have received great feedback on them from several of my patients and I would definitely recommend them over any other competitor.

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