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September 2021

Take Steps to Protect Your Kidneys

You’ve seen how a coffee filter keeps grounds out of your morning cup of joe. Your kidneys work much the same way, straining waste products from your blood.

Diabetes places your kidneys at risk. About 30% of adults with diabetes have chronic kidney disease. However, you can catch it and take action early.

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A silent diabetes problem

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that sit just below your rib cage. Millions of tiny blood vessels inside filter your blood, disposing of waste in your urine.

If you have diabetes, high blood glucose damages these blood vessels. The damage prevents the kidneys from doing their important job. The condition gets worse with time.

Eventually, your kidneys may fail completely, a serious illness called kidney failure. You may need a kidney transplant or regular blood-filtering treatments called dialysis. Kidney disease also can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and other conditions.

Kidney disease usually has no symptoms at first. Once it has progressed, it can cause:

  • Swelling, especially in your legs, feet, and ankles

  • Sleep problems

  • Trouble focusing

  • Nausea and vomiting

Keep kidneys working their best

Early treatment may help prevent long-term damage. So talk with your healthcare provider about getting blood and urine tests for kidney disease. If you have type 2 diabetes or have had type 1 diabetes for more than 5 years, you should get tested for kidney disease every year.

Keep your body’s clean-up crew on the job with healthy habits. Be sure to:

  • Manage your blood glucose levels.

  • Control your blood pressure. Eat less salt and follow your provider’s instructions to keep your blood pressure in your target range.

  • Take the medicines your doctor prescribes.

  • Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Break down the 150 minutes into as many smaller sessions as needed.




Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Siegal, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2021
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.