The health of your kidneys can affect the health of your entire body. And, if you live with type 2 diabetes, you might be at an increased risk for developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition that involves a steady loss of kidney function that can eventually lead to long-term kidney damage.
In honor of National Kidney Month, we’re sharing resources below from our partner, Bayer, which highlight the health risks associated with CKD, outline ways to assess your own risks, and offer preventive practices to keep your kidneys healthy.
In people with type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease is a condition that causes a gradual loss of kidney function and leads to serious kidney damage. The disease is called chronic because the damage to your kidneys happens steadily over a period of time and does not get better. When your kidneys are damaged, they can’t filter blood like they should, which can cause dangerous levels of waste and fluid to build up in your body. CKD can lead to other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease.
Am I at Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease?
If you have type 2 diabetes and any of the risk factors listed below, talk with your doctor about getting tested for CKD and what you can do to protect your kidneys:
- High blood pressure
- Family history of kidney disease
- Being of African American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, or Pacific Islander descent
- Use tobacco
- Overweight/high BMI (body mass index)
Use this doctor discussion guide to help you get the most out of your next doctor’s visit.
Chronic Kidney Disease Health Risks
People with CKD and T2D are at an increased risk for other serious diseases. If you have chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes:
- You're 3x more likely to die from a cardiovascular event, such as heart attack or stroke, than people with diabetes alone
- You are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure
- You are more likely to pass away from cardiovascular disease before reaching end-stage kidney disease (ESKD)
Importance of early chronic kidney disease testing
A urine test, called a urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) test, checks for protein, called albumin, in the urine, which is one of the earliest indicators of CKD or kidney damage. The sooner you catch CKD, the more you can do to protect your kidneys from further damage.
Why Kidneys are Important
Your kidneys are as important as your heart. Kidneys keep your whole body working well, so the health of your kidneys impacts the health of your entire body. The kidneys' main job is to filter the blood and remove waste and extra water from it, which leaves your body as urine. Your kidneys also help control blood pressure and make hormones that your body needs to stay healthy.
When your kidneys are damaged and scarred from inflammation, they can’t remove protein and toxins from the blood, which causes more inflammation and damage to your kidneys and other organs.
What Causes Chronic Kidney Disease in Type 2 Diabetes?
There is a connection between T2D, high blood pressure, and kidney inflammation and scarring. These 3 conditions can cause CKD to worsen and progress over time.
High blood sugar and chronic kidney disease
High blood sugar can cause damage to the blood vessels in the kidneys and lead to chronic kidney disease. When the vessels in the kidneys are injured, your kidneys cannot clean your blood properly and protein may be lost in your urine. Healthy kidneys don’t let any protein enter urine. Even people with well-controlled blood sugar levels can develop CKD in T2D
High blood pressure and chronic kidney disease
When you have chronic kidney disease, your kidneys are unable to filter extra water and waste from your body. Damaged kidneys may release too much of an enzyme called renin, which can lead to high blood pressure, and can make kidney disease worse. Worsening kidney disease raises blood pressure, creating a dangerous cycle as each disease makes the other worse.
Kidney inflammation and scarring and chronic kidney disease
High blood sugar can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys and lead to CKD. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, it causes inflammation and scarring. This inflammation and scarring make it harder for the kidneys to do their job, and small proteins that are normally filtered out by the kidneys begin leaking into the urine.
Originally published on CKD and T2D by Bayer.