Lots of people ask how important are kidneys to a diabetic? The answer is that your kidneys perform a number of vital functions crucial to your ongoing good health and if they don’t work properly, you could be in serious trouble.
In the early stages of diabetes, your high sugar levels force more blood into the kidneys which causes them to become larger than normal. This pressure buildup makes protein spill out into your urine. If you can control your blood sugar levels, the kidneys will return to normal.
However, if your kidneys remain engorged for a period of three years or more due to constant high blood sugar levels, the damage can become permanent. The kidneys will keep spilling out protein and lose their ability to remove toxins from the blood. This is the first indicator of kidney disease.
As your kidneys become worse, extra protein moves into your urine and your blood pressure increases. This decreases the kidney’s ability to filter the toxins even more and hinders their ability to create a hormone that makes your red blood cells. This can lead to you becoming anemic.
Anemia means less oxygen is being carried to your cells and you can become weak as a result. Less vitamin D is also made and that can cause weaknesses in the bones and you may need to take vitamin supplements to boost your vitamin D levels.
You may not even know you have kidney disease for years as sometimes symptoms don’t show clearly enough to notice. Some symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) include: swelling in the extremities, fatigue, the need to urinate increases or decreases, feeling numb or itchy, lack of concentration, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and loss of appetite.
Diabetes accounts for around 44% of kidney failure and is the most common cause. Even if your diabetes is controlled properly, the risk of kidney disease and failure exists. If your kidneys fail, you need to either undergo dialysis or have a transplant. Not everyone is suitable for kidney transplant even if a suitable donor can be found.
Dialysis is an artificial blood-cleansing procedure usually done three times a week in hospital or at home and can be very stressful and debilitating for patients. If you have dialysis, you must maintain a strict body weight and are very limited in the amount of fluids you’re allowed to drink.
Diabetics should be tested regularly for any trace of kidney disease as early detection means treatment can be started to prevent further complications down the track. Regardless of whether you think you should be tested, it’s important not to ignore symptoms as they can be early indicators.
All organs are vital to your health and you should always consult a doctor if you notice any irregularities. Diabetics are more prone to complications and you should endeavor to catch them early.