A complication that can occur in diabetes is damage to the kidney and, by the way, yet another is damage to the eye. Let’s talk about each of those: Damage to the kidney occurs because the diabetic state can eventually through time destroy the little filtering mechanism in the kidney and therefore we stop making urine and all of the poisons in the blood build up in the blood. That’s called renal failure or Uremia. That requires treatment with dialysis or with a new kidney – a transplant. In the eye, there can be damage to small blood vessels that eventually lead to blindness. In fact, the number one cause of blindness in the United States is the diabetic state.
Diabetic kidney disease cannot be reversed once it starts but what one can do is delay the onset by excellent diabetic and blood pressure control. Of course, that means good lifestyle, taking the medication, letting your doctor keep an eye on it. In fact, some diabetics take such good care of themselves that they never develop kidney disease. Others who don’t take good care of their diabetic state develop kidney disease at a young age and require dialysis.
When we physicians first notice that the kidney is being damaged in diabetes, we try and make measures to tighten the control of the diabetes on the patient. It’s important for the patient to stay well hydrated so that the kidney is flushed all of the time. Then, as we noted before: we may start on medication, which can decrease the rate of progression. Once the process gets rolling and the patient develops quite severe damaged kidneys, then the treatment is dialysis to take over for the kidney and eventually transplantation for the patient to have a new kidney.
What one needs to do to decrease the risk for diabetic kidney disease is the same as with all of the other complications with diabetes: Good diabetic control, which consists of paying attention to diet, exercise, medication, and visits to the physician. Basically – the healthy diabetic lifestyle combined with the appropriate medication. All of these things will result in good control of the diabetes and a marked decrease in the rate with which diabetic kidney disease develops.
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