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How Does Diabetes Affect the Kidney?

How Does Diabetes Affect the Kidney?

Diabetes Mellitus, commonly referred to as Diabetes, is a condition in which your body does not secrete sufficient amount of insulin or can't use the standard amount of insulin. Insulin is a type of hormone responsible for regulating the amount of sugar in your blood. Diabetic people tend to have a high blood sugar concentration which is dangerous to the kidney.

The Different Types of Diabetes

The most common types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type1 diabetes is common in children, and it is usually referred to the juvenile onset diabetes mellitus. Type 1 diabetes implies that your body does not secrete sufficient insulin and therefore, you have to take insulin injections during your lifetime

Type 2 diabetes which is usually referred to as adult onset diabetes mellitus is common in people over the age of 40 years among people aged 40 years and above. Unlike type 1 diabetes, here, your pancreas secretes sufficient amount of insulin which the body fails to utilize properly. This leads to the buildup of insulin in your blood stream

Diabetes and the Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)

Kidneys are important organs whose primary function is to get rid of waste products from the blood. The kidney contains millions of blood vessels which serve as filters. Diabetes can damage your kidney and cause kidney failure. A failed kidney cannot filter out waste products which result in a condition referred to as the diabetic kidney disease.

How Does Diabetes Mellitus Cause Kidney Disease?

To understand this concept, we need to figure out what happens during digestion. As our bodies digest the food that we eat (mainly proteins), waste products are secreted. As mentioned above, the kidney contains millions of blood vessels (capillaries) with tiny holes that act as filters. As blood flows through the capillaries, tiny molecules such as waste products tend to squeeze through the holes. The waste products form urine which is pumped out of your blood stream into the collecting ducts.

Diabetes can damage the filtering system. High blood sugar concentration makes the kidneys to filter too much blood. The extra work is tedious to the filtering system, and after some time, the filters start to leak, and with time, an abnormal amount of protein is lost in the urine. The protein which leaks out of damaged kidneys is referred to as albumin. Having small amounts of albumin in urine is referred to as microalbuminuria and is considered normal. However, a raised amount of albumin in the urine usually referred to as macroalbuminuria, is a clear indicator of kidneys that have been damaged by diabetes.

Some of the common symptoms of diabetic kidney disease include;

• A poor appetite

• Weight Loss

• Nausea

• Swollen feet and ankles due to fluid retention

• Dry, itchy skin

• Puffiness around the eyes

• Frequent urination

• Muscle cramps

• Difficulty thinking properly

If the kidney disease is diagnosed early, several treatments can be administered to the patient to keep it from getting worse. However, when the disease is diagnosed while at an advanced stage, what follows is the end-stage renal disease (ESRD).