Early kidney disease can and should be treated to keep it from getting worse.
Ask your doctor about these three simple tests.
They should be done at least once a year, so if you have early kidney disease, it can be treated right away.
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) recommends three simple tests to check for kidney disease:
TEST 1: BLOOD PRESSURE
Blood pressure. High blood pressure is the second most common cause of kidney disease. High blood pressure may also happen as a result of kidney disease.A blood pressure of 140/90 or higher is called high blood pressure. If you have diabetes or kidney disease a target less than 130/80 is recommended. Keeping blood pressure under control is important to lower risk of kidney disease, heart and blood vessel disease, and stroke.
TEST 2: URINALYSIS
Urinalysis. A urinalysis is a test that checks a sample of your urine for the amount of protein, blood (red blood cells and white blood cells) and other things.Protein and red and white blood cells are not normally found in the urine, so having too much of any of these may mean kidney disease.Having protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of kidney disease especially in people with diabetes.Several other tests can be done to check for protein in urine. One of the tests is called the protein to creatinine ratio. It is the most accurate way to measure protein in the urine. A value of 200 mg/gm or less per day is normal.
A value higher than 200 mg/gm is too high.
Another test, called the albumin to creatinine ratio, is good for people at increased risk for kidney disease—people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or family history of diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease.
A value of less than 30 mg/gm per day is normal for the albumin to creatinine ratio; a value of 30 mg/gm per day or higher is high and may be a sign of early kidney disease.
With either of these tests, you don’t need to collect a 24-hour urine sample, which may be hard to collect.
TEST 3: GFR
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GFR is estimated from results of a serum (or blood)creatinine test. The GFR tells how well your kidneys are working to remove wastes from your blood. It is the best way to check kidney function.A serum (or blood) creatinine test alone should not be used to check kidney function. GFR is calculated using the serum creatinine and other factors such as age and gender. In the early stages of kidney disease GFR may be normal. A value of 60 or higher is normal (GFR decreases with age).A GFR number of less than 60 is low and may mean you have kidney disease.Check with your doctor about having the GFR test (a GFR calculator can be found at NKF’s web site)If you are at increased risk for kidney disease (have diabetes, high blood pressure, or family history of diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease), you should find out if you have kidney disease.
A Nephrologist specializes in kidneys, but most people see a Specialist after kidney disease has progressed. More General Practitioners need to check the health of people’s kidneys, so things can be detected early.
The above 3 tests can give you peace of mind. Also, I’ve blogged a lot about Nutrition. You can search under the word Kidney in this blog to find Kidney friendly foods.
For information on upcoming NKF kidney health screenings in your area, visit the KEEP (Kidney Early Evaluation Program) Web site at:
Diabetic Nephropathy is the #1 cause of kidney failure
Almost a third of people with diabetes develop kidney disease.
People with diabetes often have other chronic conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and blood vessels disease, as well as nerve damage to their bladder, bladder infections and nerve damage, which means kidney disease is either already present or likely to be on the horizon.
Diabetes comes in two main types and each one requires different treatment.
There are two types of kidney disease in people with diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the kidney disease may already exist by the time they’re diagnosed with diabetes.
About 90% of people with diabetes have the Type 2 version. In this case their bodies don’t produce enough insulin naturally or work well. Diet and exercise are critical for them.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Symptoms of diabetes include: always feeling tired and hungry, frequent urination, blurry vision, numbness or tingling in hands or feet, always thirsty, wounds that won’t heal, sudden weight loss, sexual problems, vaginal infections. See your medical provider to get tested if you recognize these symptoms in yourself.
In type 1 diabetes, diabetic nephropathy develops a decade post diabetes diagnosis.
Type 1 sufferers need to regularly inject themselves with insulin or use an insulin pump. It may develop at any age.
Symptoms of Diabetic Nephropathy
Early onset of diabetic nephropathy has no symptoms. As kidney function worsens, symptoms may include:
Swelling of hands
Swelling of feet
Swelling of face
Itching (a sign of end-stage kidney disease)
Extremely Dry Skin
Drowsiness (a sign of end-stage kidney disease)
Irregular heart rhythm (a sign of increased potassium in blood)
When your kidneys cannot remove the waste from your blood, it builds up in your body and can reach poisonous levels.
It’s a condition known as uremia that’s extremely dangerous as people can become confused and occasionally comatose.
Diagnosing Diabetic Nephropathy
Specific blood tests and urine tests can diagnose kidney damage. It also can be detected early by finding protein in the urine.
If you have diabetes, make sure to have your urine tested annually.
Treatment for Diabetic Nephropathy
Treatments are available that can help slow the progression of kidney failure.
It’s important to maintain blood sugar control to lower blood pressure. Some medicines called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can help slow down the progression of kidney damage.
If a person has side effects from taking ACE inhibitors, another class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) can often be given instead.
If not treated, kidneys will continue to fail and larger amounts of proteins can be detected in the urine.
Advanced kidney failure requires treatment with dialysis or a kidney transplant from a cadaver donor. The waiting list for a kidney is currently close to 100,000 people. The other option is finding a living donor that is a match–a family member (they’re not always a match), spouse, friend or a stranger willing to give you the gift of life.
A kidney specialist is called a nephrologist and you need to find one as soon as your kidneys begin to fail so they can help you with diet and treatments.
With medical guidance and dietary changes, symptoms can be eased, and progression of the disease can be slowed.
FLOOD SISTERS KIDNEY FOUNDATION is an excellent resource if you’re experiencing kidney failure or are in need of finding a living kidney donor.
Jennifer Flood and her sisters founded the foundation after finding a total stranger to be a living donor for her father ten years ago. It began with her tenacious use of social media (on Craigslist) that caught broadcast media attention nationwide.
The awareness not only saved her dad’s life, but left her and her sisters with an abundant supply of willing living kidney donors, which then sparked the idea to start a foundation to help other people.
“Upon kidney failure, a lot of people end up on dialysis and then enter themselves on the long waiting list without realizing we have resources available to help them understand their best option is to find a living kidney donor.”
“Our foundation helps by actively seeking perfectly healthy strangers who are willing to donate their kidney now.”
–Jennifer Flood, President/CEO, Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation
Flood Sisters Kidney Foundationhas gained the attention and support from celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi, Barbara Corcoran, Dolly Parton, Geraldo and many more who helped a loved one find a non-related living kidney donor through their foundation.
“For us today, it starts with a commitment to provide trusted MDTV compliant education and awareness. Working with MDTV select hospitals to navigate through the clutter and ultimately providing an altruistic living donor for our client in need.”- Jennifer Flood, President/CEO, Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation
But Flood sisters are not stopping there because as Jennifer says:
“Almost one-third of people with diabetes develop kidney disease. Kidney failure is not just for the rich and famous. It’s actually even more pervasive in poor communities.”
Since 1972, poor people who get stuck on dialysis automatically become covered by medicare insurance and the dilemma is they lose all hope or just don’t know about the living kidney donor transplant option.
According to MDTV it costs over $75,000.00 to educate a community and find just one altruistic living kidney donor. It seems such a small price to pay to save a life, especially since the cost of dialysis is $84,000.00 per year (paid for by Medicare).
Paul Argen, CEO and Executive Producer of MDTV says, “Flood Sisters broke the code for people who are stuck on dialysis and want the best option to return to some normalcy. I am so impressed with thegreat work of Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation that we now have formed an exclusive partnership of collaboration to fund this effort with a long-term commitment to penetrate hundreds of these communities nationwide. Our partnership not only will give people renewed hope and save lives, but deliver a unified channel of education for families, hospitals, caregivers, providers, public health and the media to embrace. We are getting ready to move the needle in this disease state –a much-needed Angelic Gift for society. Stay tuned. Coming soon.”
Remember, only people with end stage kidney disease can be listed for deceased donor transplantation. But living donor transplants can be “pre-emptive” taking place before the need for dialysis. This has a lot of health advantages.
People who choose pre-emptive transplantation have a lower risk of death and loss of kidney transplant function, compared to those who spent time on dialysis beforehand.
The good news is according to 26 studies involving almost 500 kidney donors, 95% of kidney donors in the United States, rate their experience as good to excellent.
We support the work of Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation as the best resource for matching people with living kidney donors and raising awareness about it.
You’re not a celebrity, non-celebrity or number to them. You’re family.
Other complications of diabetes include:
dental and gum diseases
eye problems and sight loss
foot problems, including numbness, leading to ulcers and untreated injuries
Fatal complications include heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
In the case of kidney disease, this complication can lead to kidney failure, water retentionwhen the body does not dispose of water correctly, and a person experiencing difficulties with bladder control.
Regularly monitoring blood glucose levels and moderating glucose intake can help people prevent the more damaging complications of type 2 diabetes.
For those with types 1 diabetes, taking insulin is the only way to moderate and control the effects of the condition.
Meantime, everyone in the world can benefit from paying attention to their nutrition and how it affects them.
Here Are Nutritional Tips for People With Diabetes and Kidney Disease
Sodium can build up when kidneys start to fail, causing fluid to accumulate in tissues. It’s called edema, and will show up as swelling in hands, face and lower extremities.
Most organizations recommend limiting sodium to 1,500-2,300mg/daily. Besides table salt itself, other high sodium foods you want to avoid are: bacon, ham, canned or instant soups, canned vegetables, cheese, crackers, salted nuts, olives, potato chips, processed foods, soy sauce, barbecue sauces, bottled sauces, pickles, bouillon cubes, dehydrated soups.
Read sodium content on all labels.
Reduce or eliminate processed foods.
When kidneys can’t filter out potassium, too much can circulate in your blood.
An excess of potassium can be very dangerous because it can cause irregular heart rhythm, which could become severe enough to cause your heart to stop working.
Restricting high potassium foods can help prevent this from happening.
Regular blood tests to monitor your potassium levels can alert your doctor to potential problems. If you must restrict your potassium levels, most people need to limit their intake to ~2000mg/daily.
If you are someone who has diabetes and often experiences low blood sugar, you’ll want to avoid treating with orange juice and will want to use glucose tablets instead.
High-potassium foods include bananas, broccoli, raisins, tomatoes, apricots, baked beans, beets, cantaloupe, collard and other greens, molasses, mushrooms, nuts, oranges, peanut butter, potatoes, dried fruit, salt substitute, and chocolate.
Hyperphosphatemia (high phosphorus levels in the blood) does not typically become evident until stage 4 chronic kidney disease.
When kidneys start to fail, phosphorus can start to build up in your body. This causes an imbalance with calcium, which forces the body to use calcium from the bones.
It’s important to keep phosphorus levels close to normal to prevent weakening bones.
Reducing high phosphorus foods you eat is one way to keep phosphorus levels down. If you must, most people benefit from restricting phosphorus to 800-1000mg/daily.
Reducing phosphate additives includes eliminating foods that contain ingredients such as, sodium acid pyrophosphate or monocalcium phosphate.
Other foods rich in phosphorus to avoid include beer, bran cereals, peanut butter, caramel, cheese;, cocoa, cola, dried beans, ice cream, liver, milk and milk products, nuts, and sardines.
If you have diabetes and kidney disease you still want to include carbohydrate sources, but from vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
You want to avoid beverages and sugars with sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. .
If you are someone with advanced kidney disease you may have to discuss reducing intake of high potassium and high phosphorus sources of carbohydrate with your dietitian.
Too much protein can be bad for your kidneys if you’re living with kidney disease.
When choosing proteins, aim to include lean sources of protein, such as white meat chicken, fish, turkey, and lean beef.
Focus on incorporating healthy fats into the diet such as oils, and fatty fish and avoid saturated fats and trans fats – processed meats, full-fat cheese, and desserts.
It seems like there’s almost nothing left to eat after you see this list. Fear not.