Ravishankar is diabetic. Saying he has a sweet tooth is an understatement because, as Ravishankar often jokes, he has all 32 sweet teeth. Ravishankar eats a pastry with every meal but he recently heard that his kidneys could be affected by ignoring his diabetes. He is 48 years old now but the memory of his favorite teacher dying of kidney failure 35 years ago – when he was just 13 years old – is fresh in his mind. Ravishankar steered clear of alcoholic beverages his whole life to avoid kidney damage. He is upset to have landed up here and wants to understand the connection between the two. He has heard that the complication is known as diabetic nephropathy and wants to avoid a positive diabetic nephropathy diagnosis at all costs.
In this blog post, we are going to spell out the concept of diabetic nephropathy, the implications of a positive diagnosis, and most importantly the way to prevent it. We will also touch upon the options that the patient has in hand in the event of a positive diabetic nephropathy diagnosis, or in other words if they are diagnosed with diabetic nephropathy.
What is diabetic nephropathy and what does it do to your body
A positive diabetic nephropathy diagnosis basically means that the patient’s kidneys are in jeopardy. Also known as kidney disease, it is one of the most serious complications of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the long term.
Diabetic nephropathy inhibits your kidneys’ ability to perform their basic function of eliminating waste and excess fluid from the diabetic individual’s body. It eventually results in kidney failure, which is life-threatening.
How to avoid a positive diabetic nephropathy diagnosis
About one-fourth of all people who have type 1 and type 2 diabetes end up with diabetic nephropathy. However, there are measures you can take to avoid falling in that lot. Very simply, you must treat your diabetes as a wake-up call and turn your lifestyle around immediately. A healthy diet, exercise, and a healthier lifestyle with less stress eating at consistent timings and sufficient sleep (at the right time) is all key to maintaining optimal blood sugar readings, which in turn will keep diabetic nephropathy at bay.
3 simple rules can help you lower your chances of a positive diabetic nephropathy diagnosis
- Maintain a diet that steers clear of concentrated sugar and foods with a high GI.
- Practice moderate exercise – like walking, yoga, or calisthenics – for at least 30 minutes a day, at least 5 times a week
- Sleep on time, eat on time, and ensure that you get sufficient de-stress time
Who needs to get a diabetic nephropathy diagnosis or when to get a diabetic nephropathy diagnosis
You must go in for a diabetic nephropathy diagnosis if:
- You have been suffering from type 1 diabetes for 5 years or longer
- You are a smoker or worse a diabetic smoker
- You have been a heavy drinker and now have diabetes
- You have high blood cholesterol
- You were on pain meds for an extended period – especially unprescribed or if you did not follow the instructions appropriately
- If you are severely overweight
What symptoms should prompt you to call your doctor to screen or test you for diabetic nephropathy:
If you display any of the following symptoms, call your doctor and set up a test right away
- Drastically and sustained increased need to urinate
- Protein presence in urine
- Shortness of breath (agreed, this one is pretty omnipresent but do consider other symptoms in combination with this one)
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Erratic blood pressure
- Swelling at extremities and around eyes
- Itchiness that does not subside
- Constant tiredness
What tests are used in diabetic nephropathy diagnosis
There are 5 varieties of tests that may be used in the diagnosis of diabetic nephropathy. These are
- Blood tests, which actually screen you by checking the progress of your diabetes
- Urine tests, which are the most common and check for a protein called albumin, also called microalbumin, in your urine
- Imaging tests like x-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT scans
- Renal function testing where the doctor checks your renal function to check on your kidneys
- Biopsy, but really only if for some reason the other tests are not able to provide a conclusive answer
What are your options if you have been diagnosed with diabetic nephropathy
You must get your diabetes under control right away to avoid going to the next stage, that is kidney failure.
Your doctor might also prescribe medication that reduces the level of albumin in your urine which will help improve the health of your kidneys.
If you also have associated health issues like blood pressure and high cholesterol, these will need to be brought under control too.
All the research that certain big names are investing in with regards to reversing aging and other regenerative treatments could in the future be beneficial to diabetics with kidney disease, as could stem cell treatments. Studies are underway.