If you have diabetes, you have a 25 percent chance of developing kidney disease. Kidney disease is also connected with eye problems and blindness and in some cases, the kidneys lose most of their ability to function. Anything less than 15 percent of normal kidney function is considered kidney failure. Another potential problem is a urinary tract infection that spreads bacteria to the kidneys. The good news is that you can take steps to protect your kidneys. Here’s what you can do:
Monitor your blood glucose (FBG) closely
Your physician may request a test called A1c or HbA1c. This test is an average of your blood glucose levels over a three-month period. Some healthcare professionals say that a good A1c level is anything less than 7 percent, but all agree that working closely with your doctor and keeping a close eye on your blood glucose levels are good practices.
Do what you can to promote good health
This can include daily exercise and a healthy diet which reduces sodium. It also might mean smoking cessation and losing weight. Believe it or not, making sure to sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours also benefits your health. Here’s to getting more zzzzzz’s!
Watch your blood pressure
Most health professionals agree that keeping your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg is a good idea. Blood pressure measures the force of your blood against the inside of your blood vessels, and when it is too high, it means your heart is working too hard. This can lead to serious complications like stroke or even a heart attack.
Sometimes the stress of dealing with diabetes on a daily basis can increase blood pressure or even blood glucose levels. Learning to manage stress by including activities you enjoy, meditating, walking in nature, or practicing yoga can be helpful.
While diabetes can be a daunting diagnosis, you can take control of your kidneys and their health. Working closely with your doctor and educating yourself about what you can do are important first steps toward better health.
Nan Kuhlman is an author, freelance writer, and part-time university professor based in Los Angeles, CA. She currently works full-time as a technical writer in Los Angeles and part-time as an online adjunct writing instructor. She has written for scholarly publications like the University of California, Davis Writing on the Edge and Chapman University’s Anastamos Interdisciplinary Journal, among others.