March 7, 2015

Nephropathy – Part 3

When kidney damage is caught in its early stages, it can be slowed with treatment. Once larger amounts of protein appear in the urine, kidney damage will slowly get worse. Follow your doctor's advice to keep your condition from getting worse. The following are excellent steps to prevent as much damage as possible. Some of these steps should be started as soon as you have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Control your blood pressure - Keeping your blood pressure under control (below 130/80) is one of the best ways to slow kidney damage.
  1. Your doctor may prescribe medicines to lower your blood pressure and protect your kidneys from more damage.
  2. Taking these medicines, even when your blood pressure is in a healthy range, helps slow kidney damage.
Control your blood glucose level - You can also slow kidney damage by controlling your blood glucose level, which you can do by:
  1. Eating healthy foods
  2. Getting regular exercise
  3. Taking medicine or insulin as instructed by your doctor
Checking your blood glucose level as often as instructed and keeping a record of your blood glucose numbers so that you know how meals and activities affect your level.

Other ways to protect your kidneys -
  1. Before having an MRI, CT scan, or other imaging test in which you receive a contrast dye, tell the health care provider who is ordering the test that you have diabetes. Contrast dye can cause more damage to your kidneys.
  2. Before taking an NSAID pain medicine, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, ask your health care provider if there is another kind of medicine that you can take instead. NSAIDs can damage the kidneys, especially when you use them often.
  3. Know the signs of urinary tract infections and get them treated right away.

    Many resources can help you understand more about diabetes. You can also learn ways to manage your kidney disease. Education is a key to keeping your kidneys healthy. The links following are a few of the sources:
  1. American Diabetes Association:
  2. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse:
  3. National Kidney Foundation:

Your doctor may need to stop some of your medicines because they can harm your kidneys if diabetic nephropathy is getting worse. Diabetic kidney disease is a major cause of sickness and death in people with diabetes. It can lead to the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Talk to your doctor if you have diabetes and you have not had a urine test to check for protein. If necessary, ask for a referral to an urologist or even a specialist in kidney diseases – a nephrologist.

Some of the other names for this include - Diabetic nephropathy; Nephropathy - diabetic; Diabetic glomerulosclerosis; Kimmelstiel-Wilson disease.

When kidney disease is diagnosed early, during microalbuminuria, several treatments may keep kidney disease from getting worse. Having larger amounts of protein in the urine 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).

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