Diabetes and Kidney Disease: A Dangerous Connection

Diabetes is a growing problem in the United States; consider that in 2017, over 9% of the American population had this condition, a number equivalent to over 30 million people. While many people are aware of the prevalence of diabetes, relatively few know about the impact of diabetes on the kidneys.

Junk in the Bloodstream

With the onset of diabetes, the body’s network of blood vessels begins to sustain damage. Consequently, the kidneys are unable to purge the bloodstream of harmful waste products. With its blood vessel filtration system compromised, the body begins to retain excessively large amounts of both water and salt. These abnormally high salt/water levels can potentially lead to unhealthy weight gain and ankle swelling. The problems don’t end there; according to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney failure afflicts anywhere from 10 to 40% of those with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. For people with Type 1 (juvenile onset) diabetes, this figure stands at approximately 30%.

Warning Signs

There are a number of red flags that can indicate the presence of diabetes-induced kidney damage. As mentioned above, many diabetics must contend with weight gain and ankle swelling. In addition, high blood pressure readings might signal malfunctioning kidneys, as can increasingly frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom. As diabetic kidney disease worsens, the following symptoms are known to occur:
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Decreased appetite
• Fatigue
• Muscle Cramps
• Anemia, or a lack of red blood cells

Given the severity of both kidney disease and diabetes, it is recommended that people with one or both conditions have their blood, urine and blood pressure checked on a yearly basis.

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