Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
The low down for diabetics and hypertension patients
Your kidneys are sophisticated reprocessing machines. A range of factors cause the kidneys to become dysfunctional. When this happens they don’t filter enough waste from your blood, causing toxins to build up. Some people are at a higher risk for kidney disease, and existing conditions can complicate it further. Age (above 60) and a family history are two risk factors that you cannot control, but diabetes and hypertension you can. Here, wisdom from Dr Manju Aggarwal, head, Nephrology and Renal Transplant, Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon, on how to keep your kidneys healthy.
Diabetes: About 20 to 40 per cent of diabetics develop kidney disease. Damage to smaller blood vessels (as a result of diabetes) can cause nephropathy or kidney disease. The first sign is leakage of protein from the urine due to a damaged kidney filter.
What you can do: Manage your diabetes with lifestyle changes and medication. Get a kidney function test done (see below) when you are diagnosed with diabetes. And follow up with an annual screening to detect problems early. If the doctor spots abnormalities, you may need kidney function tests more frequently.
Hypertension: Altered kidney function can be both—a cause and a result of high blood pressure. Over time, high BP can damage the blood vessels throughout the body including those of the kidneys, preventing them from doing their work.
What you can do: Cut your salt intake. Keep your BP within the normal range. Screen for kidney disease (refer to diabetes above).
3 Simple Tests for Kidney Function
1. A blood test that checks blood urea and serum creatinine levels.
2. A urine examination for protein leakage in urine.
3. A calculation of GFR (creatinine levels as per age and body size) to measure the total filtration rate of your kidneys.
—As told to Kathakali Dasgupta