Control blood sugar to prevent kidney disease and other complications

GFR below 10 indicates kidney failure
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New Delhi, March 16, 2019 :

There are about 72 million people with diabetes in India and these numbers are expected to increase to 134 million in the next few years. Nearly a third of people with diabetes develop kidney complications after 15 to 20 years. It is the most common cause of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure in the world. Uncontrolled diabetes can hamper many organs and the kidney is one of the most seriously affected.

Chronic kidney disease or CKD is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time and may eventually lead to kidney failure, causing patients to undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant. The signs and symptoms are not noticeable until the disease is fairly well advanced, and the condition has become severe. By this time, most of the damage is irreversible.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Kidneys help in filtering out the excess waste and fluid material from the blood. They can eliminate most of the waste materials that our body produces. However, when the blood flow to the kidneys is affected, they cannot work properly. This can happen due to some damage or disease. Problems can occur even when the urine outflow is obstructed. At an advanced stage of CKD, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes, and wastes can build up in the body. Those with underlying conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, abnormal kidney structure, and a family history of the disease are at more risk. Additionally, those who smoke and are obese can also be potential candidates for CKD over the longer term.”

Without treatment, kidney disease often gets worse. If your GFR drops below 15, you may feel tired and weak, with nausea, vomiting and itching. By that point, you may need a kidney transplant or dialysis.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “If you have these risk factors, it is important to be screened for kidney disease. That usually involves simple laboratory tests: a urine test to look for kidney damage, and a blood test to measure how well the kidneys are working. The urine test checks for a protein called albumin, which is not routinely detected when your kidneys are healthy. The blood test checks your GFR—glomerular filtration rate. GFR is an estimate of filtering ability of your kidney. A GFR below 60 is a sign of chronic kidney disease. A GFR below 15 is described as kidney failure.”

Golden Rules to avoid or delay reaching the point of reaching kidney failure

  • Keep fit and active, as it helps reduce your blood pressure.
  • Monitor your blood pressure: It is also the most common cause of kidney damage. The normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80. A BP reading above 130/80 is high BP.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels controls as about half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage.
  • Eat healthy and keep your weight in check as this can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with chronic kidney disease.
  • Reduce your salt intake. The recommended sodium intake is 5-6 g of salt per day (around a teaspoon).
  • Maintain a healthy fluid intake: Traditional wisdom has long suggested drinking 1.5 to 2 liters (3 to 4 pints) of water per day.
  • Do not smoke as it slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50%.
  • Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis: Drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage, if taken regularly.

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