How Diabetes Mellitus Puts you at a Greater Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease
By Dr. Dhara
Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Majority of patients in the dialysis units in Kenya and the rest of the world tend to have Diabetes Mellitus. This is because over time, the high levels of sugar in the blood damage the millions of tiny filtering units within each kidney. For people with diabetes, kidney problems are usually picked up during a check-up by their doctor. Occasionally, a person can have diabetes mellitus without knowing it. This means their unchecked high blood sugar levels may be slowly damaging their kidneys. At first, the only sign is high protein levels in the urine, but this has no symptoms. It may be years before the kidneys are damaged severely enough to cause symptoms.
Diabetes mellitus is multifunctional and is further worsened by high blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension is a known risk factor for kidney disease and people with diabetes are always prone to hypertension. Almost all diabetes mellitus patients develop some degree of kidney damage, and since both diabetes mellitus and kidney disease tend to be asymptomatic, diagnosis can often be delayed, unless regular medical checkups are conducted. It is therefore important for people to go for regular medical checkups to diagnose medical conditions early in their course. Doing this helps in the prevention, slowing or completely halting the progress or reversing the complications that may come up.
In the unfortunate instance that a person is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, among the treatment options available is dialysis, which involves either shunting the patient’s blood through a special machine (haemodialysis) that helps remove the wastes while preserving water and salts, or removing wastes through fluid introduced into the abdomen (peritoneal dialysis). Dialysis is required several times every week for the rest of the person’s life.
A healthy diet and lifestyle incorporated in one’s daily routines is key in preventing and managing both diabetes and kidney disease; alongside the related complications. Since diseases come with multiple complications, it is always important to consult the experts before incorporating any diets or lifestyle changes when managing your medical conditions. Patients with long-term illnesses such as diabetes and kidney disease require both psychological and social support in addition to medical treatment.it is therefore advisable to always seek assistance from the relevant people and institutions to better their quality of life. Diabetes mellitus and kidney disease are not the end of life.