How can I slow the progression of kidney disease?
Keeping healthy is the most important part of delaying kidney disease. If you have diabetes and have been diagnosed with an early stage of chronic kidney disease, following your doctor’s instructions regarding diet, exercise and medication will help you keep your diabetes under control, and keep your body (and your kidneys) healthy. Your doctor will also monitor your blood pressure levels, which can accelerate kidney disease. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend you stop.
If you have diabetes and have been diagnosed with a later stage of chronic kidney disease, it’s even more important to keep as healthy as possible. You should follow your doctor’s instructions. You will probably also consult with a health care team that includes a kidney doctor (nephrologist) and a dietitian who specializes in kidney disease (renal dietitian). Your nephrologist will monitor you carefully for any further reduction of kidney function. Your renal dietitian may place you on a special diet to help preserve the healthy nephrons. Your health care team will work with you in order to create a diet that is not only diabetes-friendly, but also kidney-friendly. It’s important to eat correctly and take any medications prescribed. If your kidneys fail completely or get to less than 10-20% of total function, you may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Will taking insulin help with kidney disease?
Taking insulin is part of treating your diabetes. But insulin alone won’t help with diabetes and kidney disease. Diet and exercise play an important role in controlling both diseases.
Why am I taking high blood pressure medicine, if I only have diabetes?
High blood pressure medication, like an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (also known as an ACE inhibitor) has been shown to slow the progress of kidney and heart disease in patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Although you may not have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe an ACE inhibitor in order to protect your remaining kidney function. If you have questions about whether or not certain medications are right for you, ask your doctor. Do not stop any prescribed medicine unless your doctor directs you to do so.
I drink plenty of water. Doesn’t that help keep my kidneys healthy?
Drinking plenty of water keeps your body hydrated. But drinking water alone will not keep your kidneys and other organs of your body healthy, especially if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Eating right, exercising and taking your prescribed medications will help keep your diabetes in check. If you’ve already been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, make sure you are following your doctor’s recommendations, especially regarding fluid intake. Patients in the later stage of CKD may have restrictions on the amount of water or fluid they can drink.
I’ve heard that a renal diet is good for your kidneys. Should I go on it?
A renal diet is essential for patients diagnosed with a later stage of chronic kidney disease. If you have not been diagnosed with this, you should not go on it. The renal diet will provide nutrition for kidney patients by cutting back on protein, but still keeping calories high. In order to accomplish this, some food items may contain sugar. If you are diabetic, this may not be appropriate.
Renal diets are tailor-made for the individual patient by working closely with a dietitian. A dietitian will be aware of any other conditions you have and will make necessary adjustments to the diet to ensure optimal nutrition. Making up your own renal diet based on general information may do you more harm than good.
I’m on a high protein diet and my diabetes is under control, but I’ve heard that kidney patients shouldn’t have too much protein. Am I hurting my kidneys?
When your body digests protein, a waste product called creatinine is made, which is processed through the kidneys. When your kidneys are already damaged, they may have a difficult time eliminating this waste. This is why kidney patients may be on a protein-restricted diet.
Your doctor will give you guidelines on how to eat properly to bring your diabetes under control. He will also take into account any conditions you may have, such as chronic kidney disease. Always ask your doctor if you are considering changing your diet. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether or not the changes will be appropriate for your condition.
Sometimes I crave something sweet. Occasional sugar won’t hurt my kidneys, will it?
We all have cravings, however, it is best to ask your doctor or your dietitian just how much sugar you can have in your diet. Depending on your level of diabetes, you may not be able to have any sugar, or will be severely restricted in your sugar intake. Monitoring your diet is essential in keeping your blood sugar levels down and your kidneys healthy.
If I don’t eat sugar, will this guarantee I won’t get kidney disease?
There are other factors involved in kidney disease, such as high blood pressure. Although not eating sugar may help keep your diabetes under control, it is still no guarantee that your kidneys will remain healthy.