Q:

How can a diabetic protect his or her kidneys from damage?

A:

Quick Answer

According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, or NDIC, there are several ways to keep the kidneys healthy when suffering from diabetes, including keeping the blood glucose levels within a healthy range, maintaining a healthy blood pressure, maintaining a healthy diet (which may include avoiding too much protein, fat, sodium and potassium), having routine tests performed each year, avoiding excessive use of painkillers and quitting smoking. Healthy kidneys are important for filtering the blood. Since diabetes can affect glucose levels in the blood, and excessively high glucose levels can negatively affect the kidney's filters, it is important to maintain good kidney health when suffering from diabetes.

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Full Answer

According to the NDIC, a decline in kidney health can lead to diabetic kidney disease. Since diabetic kidney disease can go undetected for years, it is important to get routine tests performed each year to check protein and albumin levels. While checking these levels is the best way to diagnose diabetic kidney disease, there are noticeable symptoms that can possibly point to a kidney issue. These symptoms include differences in the frequency of urination, fatigue, itchy, numb or dry skin, headaches, weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting, insomnia, trouble focusing, darkened skin and muscle cramps.

The three tests that can be performed to determine if a patient has diabetic kidney disease include a blood pressure test, an albumin and creatine test and an estimated glomerular filtration rate test.

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