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Preventing and treating illness

February 26, 2016

Breaking the diabetes-kidney disease connection

Kidney disease hits one in 10 Canadians, says the Kidney Foundation of Canada. But if you have diabetes, your kidneys are three times more at risk.

Having diabetes is bad enough, with its dietary restrictions, monitoring and medications. But diabetes also significantly increases the risk of serious health problems, including heart disease, blindness, nerve damage and kidney failure.

Diabetes causes kidney disease by damaging the fine blood vessels in the kidneys and impairing their ability to filter impurities from your blood. It affects the nerves in your bladder, potentially creating a backup that can damage your kidneys. And it promotes kidney infections, due to the high sugar content in your urine.

What you can do to avoid kidney disease

The Kidney Foundation lists 10 ways that people living with diabetes can help prevent kidney damage

  1. Have your urine, blood and blood pressure checked regularly by your doctor.
  2. Maintain good control of your blood sugar.
  3. Control high blood pressure (less than 130/80 on most readings)
  4. Stop smoking.
  5. Exercise regularly.
  6. Make the proper food choices.
  7. Avoid excess alcohol.
  8. See your doctor if you think you have a bladder infection.
  9. Get enough sleep.
  10. Ask your doctor about any new developments in diabetes treatment.

The devastating effects of diabetes

The devastating effects of diabetes

Illustration taken from Diabetes: An action plan for employers, © Sun Life Financial, 2014.

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