If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are too high. Over time, this can damage your kidneys. Your kidneys are filters that clean your blood. If they are damaged, waste and fluids build up in your blood instead of leaving your body.
Kidney damage from diabetes is called diabetic nephropathy. It begins long before you have symptoms. An early sign of it is small amounts of protein in your urine. A urine test can detect it. A blood test can also help determine how well your kidneys are working.
If the damage continues, your kidneys could fail. In fact, diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. People with kidney failure need either dialysis or a kidney transplant.
So, if you have diabetes, there are certain steps you can take to protect your kidneys:
- Maintain tight control of blood sugar by monitoring regularly
- Control high blood pressure
- Get prompt treatment for any urinary tract infections
- Avoid medications with the potential to damage kidneys — these include many over-the-counter pain-relief drugs
- Avoid a high-protein diet, because too much protein can be harmful to someone with CKD
Although diabetes puts you at risk of kidney problems over time, the best defense is to maintain strong control of your diabetes and follow all of your doctor’s treatment and diet recommendations.