Diabetes, which results in elevated blood glucose levels, is a chronic condition which can severely impact the health of organs if blood sugar levels are not checked. One of the most severe consequences of diabetes is the risk of developing kidney disease. Dr Manish Gutch, MBBS, MD and DM – Endocrinology & Metabolism, Director of Endocrinology Department, Medanta, Medicity Hospital, shares, “In India, the situation is particularly concerning. The country faces a two-pronged challenge: chronic kidney disease (CKD) has risen by more than 25% over the past 2 decades, now representing the ninth most common cause of death in India. At the same time, India is now home to more than 10 crore people with diabetes, making the situation even more serious.”
Chronic Kidney Disease In Diabetes
Dr Manish Gutch says that diabetes, which is characterised by high blood sugar levels, can gradually impair kidney function over time. “The high blood sugar levels cause the blood vessels inside the kidneys to become narrow and clogged, leading to kidney disease. This kidney disease often begins subtly, without noticeable signs and symptoms, making it a silent forerunner of impending kidney failure,” says Dr Gutch.
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Early Signs To Watch Out For In Kidney
It’s essential to identify kidney issues at an early stage to prevent further complications, says Dr Gutch. “The risk factors for diabetes-related kidney disease include uncontrolled blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, deranged lipid profile, exposure to tobacco, and a family history of kidney disease. While early stages of CKD are silent in most patients, there are some possible problems that you should be on the watch out for,” says Dr Gutch. He lists the following symptoms:
• Fatigue: If you often experience persistent tiredness, it can be a potential sign of kidney issues. Fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest may warrant a closer look.
• Increased need to urinate: If you find yourself needing to urinate frequently, especially during the night, it might indicate a problem with your kidneys.
• Swelling in ankles and feet: Swelling in your lower extremities, such as the ankles and feet, can be a sign of fluid retention, often associated with kidney problems.
• High blood pressure: If you have a history of high blood pressure, it’s crucial to manage it effectively. Hypertension is a significant risk factor for kidney disease, and vice-versa. Keeping blood pressure in check is vital to protect your kidney health.
Kidney Disease: Control Risk Factors
Prevention strategies for CKD in diabetes include good risk-factor control, apart from early detection and timely intervention with proven therapies for delaying kidney disease progression, says Dr Gutch. He advises, “Effective glucose control, blood pressure control, as well as lipid management are the crucial steps in preventing kidney complications. Patients can take preventive measures by regularly assessing the blood levels of sugar and lipids, monitoring blood pressure regularly, taking prescribed medications, and maintaining healthy lifestyle practices including a balanced diet, optimum physical activity, avoidance of tobacco exposure, and good stress management. By doing so, they can reduce the risk of kidney-related ailments and maintain overall well-being.”
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