Chronic illnesses are prevalent across the United States. Diabetes affects over 34 million people in the U.S. while Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) impacts more than 37 million adults. Both are significant public health concerns.
Interestingly, these two diseases are not isolated; they have an interconnected relationship, often leading to a vicious cycle of worsening health outcomes.
The Connection Between Diabetes and CKD
The link between diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes, and CKD is well established. Diabetes is the leading cause of CKD and End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) worldwide.
The high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes damage the nephrons, tiny filtering units in the kidneys. Over time, this leads to a condition known as diabetic nephropathy, the leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S.
How Diabetes Leads to Kidney Damage
In diabetes, excess glucose in the bloodstream can cause damage to various body parts, including the kidneys. Prolonged exposure to high glucose levels leads to changes in the kidney’s blood vessels, impairing their function and leading to protein leakage into the urine, a condition known as albuminuria.
Mitigating the Risk
Proper management of diabetes can significantly reduce the risk of developing CKD. Regular check-ups, good blood pressure, adhering to prescribed medication, maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and avoiding tobacco use can contribute to better outcomes with CKD.
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