Making Your Kidneys a Priority with Type 2 Diabetes

When it comes to managing your type 2 diabetes, are you considering your kidney health?

(02) Janssen Diabetes And Kidney 1000x750Photo: Adam Kazmierski Photography

(01) Janssen Diabetes And Kidney 1000x750Photo: Adam Kazmierski Photography

Diabetes continues to be the leading cause of kidney disease in Canada, with up to one in two people with diabetes experiencing signs of kidney damage in their lifetime. Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) also has impacts on the heart and may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. If you live with type 2 diabetes, don’t wait to start protecting your kidney function. Take the right steps to prevent against common —and potentially serious—secondary problems associated with DKD.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that develops when the body either cannot produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is created in the pancreas and is responsible for regulating the amount of glucose or sugar in the blood. High blood pressure, along with diabetes, puts added stress on the kidneys. Over time, protein begins to spill into the urine and waste products starts to build up in your blood because your body can’t get rid of them.

If left untreated, kidney disease can lead to kidney failure, requiring the need for dialysis or even kidney transplants. Kidneys aren’t the only organs affected by diabetes either—it can also have detrimental effects on your heart. People living with diabetes are more likely to have certain risk factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, that can increase their chances of having a heart attack or a stroke.

Be Kidney Conscious

Since kidney disease often goes undetected until it is in its advanced stages, the sooner you take action, the better. If you are one of the more than 3.5 million Canadians living with diabetes, understanding the impact of diabetes on your kidneys and heart can help keep these unwelcome surprises at bay.

Testing can help identify kidney disease earlier, which is critical in reducing the chance of progression to an advanced stage. Diabetes Canada recommends those with type 2 diabetes be screened annually for kidney disease with a simple blood and urine test. Keeping your kidney function in check works to keep you in good health and help you maintain a healthier life in the long run—heart health included.

Consult your doctor on effective ways to maintain your kidney and heart health as part of your Diabetes Management Plan. Questions to ask at your next appointment may include:

  • Has my kidney function been tested recently? If so, what were my results?
  • How often should I have my kidney function tested?
  • What is a good kidney test result for me?
  • Am I at risk of developing kidney damage?
  • Could any dietary or lifestyle changes be beneficial for my kidney health?
  • Would altering my medications help to protect my kidneys?
  • Is there anything that can be done to also support my heart health?

Learn more about how you can protect your kidney function if you have type 2 diabetes and the impact it can have on your heart health by visiting mykidneyscount.ca.

References:
Diabetes Canada. Kidney disease. Accessed November 5, 2021. https://www.diabetes.ca/managing-my-diabetes/preventing-complications/kidney-disease
Diabetes Canada. Kidney disease. Accessed November 5, 2021. https://www.diabetes.ca/managing-my-diabetes/preventing-complications/kidney-disease
Diabetes Canada. What is Diabetes. Accessed November 5, 2021. https://www.diabetes.ca/about-diabetes/what-is-diabetes
Diabetes Canada. Kidney disease. Accessed November 5, 2021. https://www.diabetes.ca/managing-my-diabetes/preventing-complications/kidney-disease
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes, Heart Disease, & Stroke. Accessed November 5, 2021. https://bit.ly/3cM7ZwD
Diabetes Canada. Diabetes in Canada Backgrounder. Accessed November 10, 2021. https://www.diabetes.ca/DiabetesCanadaWebsite/media/Advocacy-and-Policy/Backgrounder/2021_Backgrounder_Canada_English_FINAL_MAR.pdf
Diabetes Canada. Assess your risk of developing diabetes. Accessed November 5, 2021. https://www.diabetes.ca/type-2-risks/risk-factors—assessments
Diabetes Canada. 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada. Can J Diabetes 2018;42(suppl 1): S1–S325
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetic Kidney Disease. Accessed November 5, 2021. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/diabetic-kidney-disease

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