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India is touted as the diabetes capital of the world. The expected increase in the number of diabetics is expected to be 58 percent from 51 million in 2010 to 87 million in 2030. With this exponential rise in diabetes, the number of diabetic kidney diseases will also increase exponentially. But, can diabetes patients reverse kidney damage?
To know more about diabetes and the risk of kidney damage, HealthShots spoke to Dr Amjad Khan Pathan, Consultant, Department of Nephrology.
The kidney is a very important organ to maintain homeostasis in the body. However, uncontrolled sugar puts extra stress on the kidney. When we talk about damage to the kidney from diabetes, we need to realize that damage to the kidney starts happening the moment you are diagnosed with diabetes. But since the reserve of kidney function is enough, the effects do not show till you lose about 50 percent of your kidney function.
Typically, the damage to the kidney with diabetes starts with leakage of protein in urine. You will realize it by spotting frothing in your urine. At this stage, to some extent reverse the damage to the kidney with proper treatment.
The key to reverse or prevent kidney damage is early diagnosis. As soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes, ask your doctor to routinely check your kidney function. It is done by doing a simple urine test for protein and blood test. This will help in early diagnosis of damage to the kidney and your physician should be able to prescribe you treatment.
We must realize that diabetes is not a disease which can be treated only with medicines. Management of diabetes requires a holistic approach and change in lifestyle too. “As soon as you are detected with diabetes we should work on all three principles of diabetes management that is exercise, diet and timely medicine,” says Dr Pathan.
Exercise is one of the main pillars in controlling diabetes. Regular exercise will help not only in controlling sugar but will help you in maintaining ideal body weight which will prevent many diseases. A healthy diet with less sugar, salt and foods high in refined carbohydrate will help to keep your diabetes under control and in turn protect your kidneys.
Dr Pathan says, “Taking appropriate medicine and insulin at the correct time and regularly will help you achieve your target blood sugar levels. Every three months get your HBA1C checked which would give you your average blood sugar levels in the last three months.”
Avoid self medicating and do not take painkillers without your doctor’s prescription. Some of the medicines can damage the kidney. Consult your doctor immediately if you have burning feeling in urine, frequent urge to urinate, reddish or cloudy urine, fever, or pain in your back. This may denote infection or blockage in the kidney which can be easily treated by your doctor.
With all these precautions and regular visits to your doctor we will be able to pre diagnose kidney disease. This will hopefully reverse it and to a large extent prevent the onset of kidney diseases.