Diabetes and Diabetic Nephropathy

Noncommunicable diseases like diabetes are on the rise in India and it is linked to several illnesses. The diagnosis of diabetes invariably raises concerns about long-term complications involving various body organs and the kidney is one of the most susceptible yet disregarded ones. It is observed that more than 1/3rd of the people suffering from diabetes are susceptible to kidney diseases and since these complications are asymptomatic, it is all the more concerning. Diabetic nephropathy is a diabetes-linked complication that occurs due to increased glucose levels and can impact the kidneys’ blood vessels and filtration units (glomeruli). In the long term, this damage to the kidney can lead to excess protein in the urine (proteinuria) thus impacting kidney function.

Frequent urination, high blood pressure, swelling of feet, ankles, and hands, high protein in the urine, inability to focus, lack of appetite, nausea, and fatigue are some of the common symptoms. Since a large number of patients do not show any symptoms, frequent blood, and urine tests at regular intervals are advised. Diabetics who smoke, have irregular eating habits, consume alcohol, and have sedentary lifestyles are at higher risk of developing kidney-related ailments such as diabetic nephropathy.

Since lifestyle mismanagement is the main cause of diabetes and diabetes-linked diseases, the same can be managed well with suitable lifestyle changes like having an active lifestyle, exercising on a regular basis, following a nutritious diet that is rich in protein and low in carbohydrates, decreasing sodium intake and completely cutting down on fatty foods. It is recommended to stop smoking and alcohol consumption and keep stress levels to a minimum. It is recommended to have regular check-ups and keep track of blood sugars on a regular basis.

Dr. Vidyashankar P, Lead Consultant – Nephrology, Aster CMI Hospital

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